Last weekend, July 9th to 11th, saw the first Rīga Jūrmala Music Festival’s Musical Soirées take place in front of Riga’s Latvian National Opera.
While this year’s Festival has been cancelled, audiences in Riga and Jurmala are able to hear the planned repertoire for the Festival is a series of open-air broadcasts of recordings. Presented in a highly creative way, listeners get the impression that the music is coming from their surroundings – its parks, trees and bushes – which is combined with light installations created by artist Krišs Salmanis.
Audience members are encouraged to bring their own picnics and the reaction of participants was estatic, as people felt it was a much needed public coming together to share a cultural moment as Latvia comes out of the pandemic and opens up to tourism and cultural events.
“We wanted to create a way for us to give the Festival audience the chance to hear this year’s planned concert programme and to show that Riga and Jūrmala are continuing to live life even during this unique summer. We are truly happy to see that both Festival followers as well as passersby and visitors to the city enjoyed the nearly two magical hours each evening accompanied by classical music,” explains Zane Čulkstēna, Executive Director of the Rīga Jūrmala Festival.
The first Musical Soirées included recordings of works that would have been performed during the Festival’s opening weekend. Among the recordings resonating around the gardens surrounding the opera house were Dvořák’s Cello Concertowith Gautier Capuçon; Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 conducted by Gianandrea Noseda; Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas with pianist András Schiff and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with Radu Lupu, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Zubin Mehta.
Film of these opening weekends can be viewed at https://youtu.be/_l4hMpSrq0w
These Musical Soirées are taking place over select weekends until the end of August with the next edition taking place on the Turaidas Street beach in Jurmala on the 17th and 18th of July at 8.00pm. The following weekends will be 14th – 16th August (Riga) and 28th – 30th August (Jurmala)