Inese Galante: „This festival will be like a summer cocktail!”

Inese Galante: „This festival will be like a summer cocktail!”
Kaspars Garda, Rīga 2014
Una Griškeviča
13-06-2013 A+ A-
About one month ago, the excellent Latvian opera singer Inese Galante surprised everyone with her new announcement saying that she will organise „Inese Galante presents "Summertime"” festival herself. Besides, Galante has already created her foundation, and soon we will find out more about this, too. Galante told about the upcoming festival and her foundation in conversation with „Rīga 2014” culture portal.

Can you name reasons why you decided to run the festival?

To be honest, this thought came into my mind seven years ago. Back then, I realized that I should curate the festival myself. The idea of this event started to deviate from its former goals, from my thoughts and expectations. I think, we already had to change some principle of creating the festival at that time.

In others words, I realized it’ s time to act!

If my ideas come in contrast with what the curator expects, then a friendship may vanish. In that case, two people stay apart with their individual goals. Well, then it’ s time to go separate ways. Maybe I decided about this too late, but, on the other side, everything has its own time and place.


You must have learned so much during those years while other curators did their work?

Of course. My luggage of knowledge gets only bigger as years go by. I hope that it won’ t drag it along the ground, on the contrary, it will be full of great ideas flying ahead. By the way, I have lots of them. Besides, I always remember about the debt I need to pay back to my country and my people. (Keeping silence.) I always tell that I come from Latvia every time I perform. People are surprised and then ask if the rest of Latvians are the same as me, or I am the only one like that. I remember clearly my answer: no, all of us are the same as me, even better! (Laughing.)

Well, it is proven that, even though Latvia is just a tiny place in the world, it can offer many great and professional artists.

That’ s why I wish to give away my knowledge by infecting people with great music, in a good sense, of course. To teach them how to love music. Still, I would not want the festival to become high culture. Though, our audience is really educated and they know what they want to hear. Therefore, we can offer them lots of great artists and events.

Now you can offer your festival and activities of your foundation in addition to that. What will be the main goals of your initiative?

I would like get to the point where my foreign colleagues recognize Latvia more and more. Though, I tell about Latvia all my life when I’ m abroad. Also I wish that performers from foreign countries came to Latvia and also our talented singers, they don’ t have to be superstars, could perform abroad. Therefore, I want to help young people whose dream is to become singers, but they cannot afford to pay for foreign teachers. They could study in Latvia because several masterclasses and competitions would go on in order to inspire them for their next step. I was lucky to get help from people who were with me, who supported me and gave great advises. It’s necessary for a young artist, at least for the time period when they really don’ t not know what to do or which direction to choose.

Charity will be one more direction of our foundation. It’ s not a secret that last twenty years have changed everything. Many people struggle to exist, they cannot afford so many things. I wish to help them. Even a free ticket would be good in that case, because music, it keeps the spirit up.

As a former physician, I can say that music inspires people, it gives them strength to move on.

Maybe this sounds a bit childish, but..I want everyone to feel good. I know, in reality it does not happen very often, but..if I can give something in order to help, I will do so. I have some ideas for it, but everything is at its starting point, so I would not want to talk about it right now. It is planned that professionals from different spheres will join the foundation in order to share their experience. Definitely, those will be people I admire and respect, I am absolutely sure about them. My name most likely is a brand, I suppose that people will understand my goals and activities. It’ s the biggest honor, to be able to share! 


Will you share your talent at the upcoming „Summertime” festival in August? What will be the stepping stones for the event this time?

I want to point out that Wagner and Verdi celebrate 200th birthday, and we cannot avoid such a fact! (Laughing.) Both are dinosaurs of opera. This art stands on a background they created. Therefore, their music will be performed at the festival. We also wish to remember Jāzeps Vītols who celebrates his 150th birthday. One evening will be dedicated to romantic music, then I will perform together with two great tenors. One of them is my dear friend and stage partner Ingus Pētersons, I have known him for years,. Back then, we sung many concerts at the Opera House. The other singer will be countertenor Sergejs Jēgers, also a close friend of mine. We perform together quite often. The first time we sung together was so great! I think, this show, too, could be really beautiful, because every participant can choose his own repertoire.

I have always thought that an artist has to choose what he likes the best. If so, the concert goes on great.

One evening will be dedicated to well-known jazzman Igors Butmans. I think everyone knows him already, so I don’ t have to introduce him. Also Placido Domingo Jr. will sing in Latvia for the first time, this might also be his first time in The Baltics, I suppose. He is the son of the famous opera singer Placido Domingo. I have heard his performance in Europe, it’ s interesting, to find out the reaction of listeners. Childrenmu are usually compared with their parents, as we know.  

People are keen on Piazzolla’ s music. Some might even start dancing, I suppose. An that’ s the right thing to do! We eat too much and don’ t take enough physical exercises.

Ballet is also planned as I realized that we don’ t have an active, „moving” evening. Lita Beiris, my dear friend and colleague from the opera times and Guntis Gailītis, a director, offered an interesting ballet project, a bit witty. I hope the audience will like it.

We might hear other Latvian stars at the gala concert.

Yes, my friends Egils Siliņš and Aleksandrs Antoņenko have promised to take part at this concert. Swedish and German music stars will perform at the gala and at the opening night. Therefore, we can value our artists and the artistic level elsewhere in order to realize how great our musicians are. Igors Butmanis and Intars Busulis will play. I have sung with Intars in previous festivals. Countertenor from Moscow and two young, talented artists, probably the next big thing, will also be there. Of course, I will sing. Norwegian conductor Terje Mikkelsen will lead The Latvian National Symphony Orchestra. I once recorded my album „Verdi Galante” with him. So I hope that „Summertime” will be like a summer cocktail of several interesting and diverse genres. That’ s the way a summer festival should be.


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