STA, 1 July - The Ljubljana Festival will start this evening to the joy of both the audience and performers, who will be able to take the stage despite the many restrictions due to the coronavirus situation. The festival will open with the sounds of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Piano Concerto No. 3.
Conducted by Charles Dutoit, the opening concert will feature the first lady of the Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak, the orchestra and choir of the Slovenian Philharmonics, and the Megaron choir and soloists Sabina Cvilak, Monika Bohinec, Egils Silins and Rodrigo Porras Garulo.
The award-winning Swiss conductor told the press on Tuesday he was happy that the Ljubljana Festival did not share the fate of most other festivals around the world that had been cancelled because of coronavirus.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth but most events have been cancelled, except those in Ljubljana, "so I'm extremely happy to be here", he said.
Darko Brlek, the festival's director and artistic director, has recently told the STA that the coronavirus situation has affected mainly large multinational ensembles because of "mobility and such". Thus, the Bolshoi Theatre will not be able to play its Fidelio in Ljubljana.
But the festival has instead managed to attract artists that have been on its wish-list for years, including Austrian-Russian soprano Netrebko and German tenor Jonas Kaufman, he said.
According to him, the highlights of the festival will be a concert marking the 90th birthday of the great Slovenian pop music composer Mojmir Sepe, operettas Gräfin Mariza and Die Fledermaus, ballet performances Falling Angels and the Corsair, opera Nabucco, a concert by I Solisti Veneti, the musical Lolita from St Petersburg and Beethoven's violin sonatas performed by Slovenian violinist Lana Trotovšek and Spanish pianist Maria Canyigueral.
The closing event will be a concert by the La Scala orchestra from Milan.
The festival's main venue will be Congress Square, where preventive measures can be implemented more easily, while some events will be held at the Križanke open-air venue, and some in Cankarjev Dom.
The 68th summer festival will be filling the evenings in the centre of Ljubljana with classical music until 30 August.
You can see the full the progamme, and book tickets here. Some shows are already sold out