Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Birgitta Festival in Tallinn

Birgitta Festival in Tallinn
Birgitta Festival at
St Brigit's Convent in
Tallinn

The Birgitta Festival takes place in the historic and very atmospheric St Bridget's Convent in Tallinn. The convent was destroyed in the 16th century, but the ruins remain significant and rather lovely. Within their confines the Birgitta Festival will be taking place from 8 to 17 August 2014, one of Tallinn's cultural highlights. This year is the 10th festival and the programme includes a varied mix of works including Bernstein's Mass, the Jacobson Ballet from.St Petersburg, Mozart's Die Entfuhrung, and Verdi's A Masked Ball with performers from all over including Russia, Latvia, USA, Switzerland and Estonia. The other anniversary being celebrated is the 75 birthday of Eric Klas the artistic director of the Festival.

The Festival opens on 8 August with Bernstein's Mass, his controversial and still puzzling theatre piece based around the mass. The performance will bring together performers from Estonia, USA, Latvia and Russia, including the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and Riga Dom Church boys choir, conducted by Maris Sirmais.

The Audience at the Birgitta Festival in Tallinn
The Audience at the Birgitta Festival
The Jacobsen Ballet from St Petersburg will be performing Spartacus, a modern take on the choreography of the theatre's legendary director Leonid Jacobson to Khachaturian's music. Mozart's Die Entfuhrung is being directed by Georg Rootering with the production coming from Opera Theater Biel Solothurn in Switzerland. The conductor will be Risto Joost. Rootering has directed Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice for a previous Birgitta Festival, and Handel's Giulio Cesare for the Estonian National Opera.

Helikon Opera from Moscow, who first visited the festival in 2005, are bringing their production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, directed by Dmitriy Bertman and conducted by Valery Kiryanov. The festival concludes with an opera gala, celebrating Eric Klas's 75 birthday with performances alternating with video clips celebrating performances from the maestro's career. Klas will be sharing the conducting honours with Valery Kiryanov from Helikon Opera.

Tallinn itself is a delightful place to visit, highly historic with a compact centre packed with lovely buildings which makes it ideal to visit for a few days and take in the festival!

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