European Capital of Culture year officially opened
“This spectacular event that will echo through different art forms throughout 2014 is proof that Riga deserves to be the European Capital of Culture,” said the president.
“Wagner’s opus in images opens the musical programme of “Rīga 2014”. It is no coincidence, as Wagner begun composing his third opera “Rienzi” in Riga – with this piece, the composer’s road to fame begun. In the year of the European Capital of Culture, I encourage everyone to join the message of R. Wagner’s musical story that in this performance is courageously improved by contemporary stage artists,” says the Head of Foundation “Rīga 2014” Diāna Čivle.
The new and grand production “Rienzi. Triumph and defeat” has been put together by an excellent creative team. “Rienzi” was first staged in Riga 136 years earlier – in 1878 – therefore audience will have the chance to witness this musical message for the first time.
Director Kirsten Delholm and her team drew inspiration from the Spanish riding school in Vienna, classical ballet and even from dance design of the Latvian Song and Dance Festival. The production isn’t directly based of Rienzi’s life story, but it is a musical and symbolic reflection of people and games for power in society.
Wagner’s original historic grand opera “Rienzi” consists of five acts, while the new production – of two. The Musical Director of the production, head guest Conductor of the Latvian National Opera Modestas Pitrenas, together with playwright Mikus Čeže chose the most musically and dramatically powerful pieces of the original score.
Head roles in this new production are played by an international ensemble of soloists and the difficult portrayal of Rienzi has been assigned to the German tenor Torsten Kerl, whose portrayal of Rienzi justifiably is considered to be the best in the world. His stage partner is the excellent Swedish soprano Elisabet Strid in the role of Irene and the German mezzo soprano Ursula Hesse von den Steinen in the role of Adriano. Other participants of the production: Latvian National Opera soloists, choir, orchestra, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, girls of the Riga Choreography School and horse Lurda.
The production features electronic music of the young Latvian composer Voldemārs Johansons. Danish set designers Mia Stensgaard and Maja Ziska have created the visual vision of the production. Costume design has been created by world renowned young Latvian fashion designers MAREUNROL’S.
The European Capital of Culture program is created by foundation “Rīga 2014” in cooperation with state, local municipality and non-governmental organizations, as well as creative unions and societies. The program is financed by the Riga City Council, the Ministry of Culture and the European Commission. “Lattelecom” is the partner of the “Rīga 2014” programme, also providing technical support.
Official “Rīga 2014” insurer “ERGO” provides insurance for all of the biggest European Capital of Culture events in order for everyone to safely enjoy these unique events all year long.