STA, 1 June 2021 - The 69th Ljubljana Festival, starting on 1 July and running until early September, will feature international stars, including Anna Netrebko, Placido Domingo and Martha Argerich, as well as Slovenian performers, said the organisers on Monday when they unveiled the festival's programme.
The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, based in Saint Petersburg and conducted by Valery Gergiev, will perform on the opening night. The orchestra will play, among others, a piece by Slovenian composer Marjan Kozina (1907-1966) titled Bela Krajina after a region in the south-east of the country.
The closing evening, on 8 September, will also feature music by a Slovenian composer. Visitors will be able to hear for the first time a new piece by Vito Žuraj, born in 1979, which will be performed by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Other acts include, among others, Russian soprano Netrebko, Spanish tenor Domingo, Slovenian soprano Sabina Cvilak, German tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Argentine-Swiss classical concert pianist Martha Argerich, Slovenian flautist Irena Grafenauer, the Vienna Boys' Choir, the Amsterdam-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Daniel Harding, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Choir.
The Maribor opera and ballet ensembles will stage Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Peer Gynt by Edward Clug, the ballet ensemble's artistic director and star choreographer. Both performances of his Peer Gynt were sold out at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 2019.
Those craving tango will be able to enjoy a performance by Slovenian Andreja Podlogar and Blaž Bertoncelj. Moreover, music lovers who were disappointed last year when Lolita was cancelled could rejoice as the musical is part of this year's programme as well as another audience darling Chicago.
The festival will also provide two delights for theatregoers - And the Century Will Blush. The Kocbek Case, a play about Edvard Kocbek, an acclaimed Slovenian poet, author, intellectual and anti-fascist, based on the book by Andrej Inkret and directed by Matjaž Berger, as well as Birds of a Kind, a co-production directed by Ivica Buljan and written by Wajdi Mouawad, a Lebanese-Canadian author famous for politically engaged works.
The head of the festival Darko Brlek said at Monday's press conference that the festival had been deemed a cultural event and not a gathering, so the cap on visitors will be milder this year compared to 2020 with a 1-metre distance being enforced between seats.
Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković meanwhile announced that the renovation of the Križanke open-air venue had been given a green light. A roof over the venue will be set up already this year in a move that will enable performances also in the event of rain.
The festival will be an opportunity to help revive the cultural and hospitality sectors, the mayor noted.