Greatest Latvian Stars to Meet at the “Born in Riga” Concert

Greatest Latvian Stars to Meet at the “Born in Riga” Concert
Kaspars Garda, Riga 2014 . One of the stars to perform in the concert, the acclaimed tenor Aleksandrs Antoņenko
One of the most impressive events on the “Riga 2014” Programme will be at the Latvian National Opera on the evening of the 6th of July – the “Born in Riga” concert featuring several world-famous Latvian stars. The details of the extraordinary concert, which will be broadcast live across Europe and the world via the European culture channel “ARTE” and other TV channels in Europe, were announced at a media breakfast on Thursday.

Diāna Čivle, the Head of the “Riga 2014” foundation, commented: “We thought it natural and self-explanatory that our greatest musicians had to be highlighted in Riga’s programme of the European Capital of Culture. The main task of the concert is to showcase what our most outstanding artists can give us in the European Capital of Culture year, and what they can show the world.” It was a major challenge to bring together all these Latvian stars, as many of those who work beyond Latvia each have their own concert schedules, plans and agendas.

“Our goal was to create an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind concert and show it here in Riga and elsewhere in the world. During the work on the concert, we co-operated with the Latvian Television, experts on music and our stars’ schedules.” Diāna Čivle also reminds us that “Born in Riga” is a year-long concert series featuring prominent musicians who hail from Riga and Latvia.

“The concert on the 6th of July may be considered the gala concert in the series, we therefore wish the concert to be seen in many countries of the world. The event is being organised in collaboration with several partners, and I am confident that together, we will create one of the greatest musical events in the European Capital of Culture.”

“We have raised the bar on television quite high as this is a project that, for the first time in the history of LTV, is also to be aired by the French-German culture channel “ARTE”, Europe’s most prestigious culture television that only runs top-quality programmes. We have already reached agreement with “ARTE” that it will broadcast the concert,” said Ieva Rozentāle, Chief Editor of Latvian Television’s (LTV) culture programmes and the “Born in Riga” concert’s recording producer. The concert has been offered to a number of EBU and other European public televisions, and many TV channels are interested in broadcasting the concert, she added. “We have to ensure that the artistic quality of the concert is as high as possible. To this end, BBC director Peter Maniura has been invited to direct the live broadcast. Peter Maniura has overseen the recordings of the Queen Elizabeth II jubilee concert in London, several prestigious music festivals, he has organised live broadcasts of several opera and ballet performances. The rest of the work is done by the creative and technical teams of the Latvian Television.”


The programme of the concert is very diverse, from music by Verdi and Puccini to compositions by Latvia’s Georgs Pelēcis and Ēriks Ešenvalds. Latvian Classical Music Radio Director Gunta Vaivode, who is the concert’s artistic director, commented: “In creating the concert’s programme, the creative team tried to take into consideration the artists’ preferences, as they must be given an opportunity to perform to the best of their ability for such an enormous audience.” Gunta Vaivode also indicated that the acclaimed instrumentalists Mischa Maisky, Ksenija Sidorova, Raimonds Pauls and Laima Jansone, and singers Egils Siliņš, Aleksandrs Antoņenko, Inese Galante, Maija Kovaļevska would perform in the concert.

“These names need no introduction and I can only say, time and time again, that whenever I meet my “Euroradio” and other colleagues, they tell me they are amazed at the proportion of excellent music and artists we have here in Latvia.”

The concert will also lay an emphasis on Latvian composers and on Latvia’s connection with the global music culture, which is why the concert programme includes works by Wagner, Schumann and Liszt – composers who have been to Riga. “There will also be Latvian music, as six out of sixteen compositions at the concert will be works by Latvian composers that will be presented to an international audience: Emīls. Dārziņš “Melancholic Waltz”, Arturs Maskats’ “Tango”, Georgs Pelēcis’ “Flowering Jasmine”, which will be performed by the ten-year-old prodigy, violinist Daniils Bulajevs together with the “Kremerata Baltica” orchestra.” The illustrious Latvian violinist Baiba Skride will perform the “Latvian Capriccio”, composed by Jānis Mediņš and arranged by Romualds Kalsons, the concert will also present Juris Karlsons’ “Rotaļa”, a piece for choir conducted by Māris Sirmais. “The rest of the festival’s orchestra, which brings together the best of the best musicians, will be conducted by Andris Poga,” said Gunda Vaivode, adding that, no less importantly, the concert would also feature organist Iveta Apkalna at the digital organ, performing the very memorable finale from “Symphonie Concertante” by Joseph Jongen. On the other hand, those Latvian stars who, for one reason or another, are unable to participate in the concert will have prepared special video greetings that will be screened in the evening of the 6th of July.


“When I was offered to participate in the concert one-and-a-half years ago, I could not really believe that it was possible to bring Latvian opera and instrumental music stars together in one place and time,” admitted conductor Andris Poga. The Festival Orchestra that he will conduct has been created according to the principle that it should feature not only the best musicians from Latvian orchestras, but also musicians who work in other countries, where the concertmaster will be the excellent violinist Vineta Sareika.

“I believe it is very important that we will have an opportunity to present golden compositions by Latvian composers to millions of people, most of which will hear these compositions for the first time.

Although the concert programme includes no Latvian compositions created specifically for the concert, there will be two special arrangements: a completely new orchestration of the “Latvian Capriccio” by Vilnis Šmīdbergs, and a new adaptation of the Latgalian folksong “Aiz ezera augsti kalni” (High Mountains Beyond the Lake) by Ēriks Ešenvalds will present an unprecedented collaboration between the kokle player Laima Jansone and composer Raimonds Pauls.”

One of the stars to perform in the concert, the acclaimed Latvian tenor Aleksandrs Antoņenko says that to him, Riga is associated with all styles of music. “I remember travelling from Graz to Trieste in 2007 or 2008 and looking at roadside billboards, which said that Graz was the European Capital of Culture. I thought to myself then, why has Riga not yet been the European Capital of Culture? This dream has unexpectedly come true. People often ask me in other countries, why so many excellent musicians come from Latvia and Riga. I have already commented on this phenomenon, and I believe that many people agree with me.

And the line-up of artists to perform in the evening of the 6th of July – that’s something unbelievable! It’s hard to imagine that something like that could happen in London…”

Aleksandrs Antoņenko emphasises that it will be an outstanding company and he will be honoured to perform together with the other artists on the 6th of July. “This is truly a joyful challenge to perform together with the other artists for audiences in not just Riga but all over the world.”

Tickets to the 6th of July concert are still available from “Biļešu serviss” outlets and online shop.


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