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The Cesis Arts Festival is set to surprise again


The festival will take place from 15th of July to 13th of August, not only in the beautiful Cesis, but also near the Erglu Cliffs and the Gauja River. 

Those interested in various types of art know, that the Cesis Art Festival is no ordinary event. Due to its versatility, it is hard to draw its boundaries; the festival speaks to, delights and provokes people at the same time.

The most important musical event in this year’s Cesis Arts Festival will be the first performance of the Argentinian composer’s Osvaldo Golijov flamenco opera "Ainadamar" in Latvia.

This musical extravaganza is one the most prominent achievements of the opera genre of the 21st century.

"Ainadamar" has had great success in major opera houses in the US, Australia, Spain, and many other parts of the world.

The opera, telling the touching story of the Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca and actress Margarita Xirgu, will be performed on the 5th of August, in the picturesque Cesis Castle Park’s open-air stage.

Both great Latvian artists and eminent guests will participate in the “Ainadamar" Cesis concert — Marina Pardo, who performed the role of Lorca in the Spanish premier, and Maria Hinojosa Montenegro, whose performance as Xirgu in the Opera Philadelphia was described as “vocally and visually a dream.”

The third guest soloist will be Alfredo Tejada — an experienced flamenco singer with a strong stage presence, who is an often guest in many Spanish music houses.

“The Cesis Arts Festival, starting a new decade, is gradually shifting from the strict division of events by genres to a program, which emphasizes the idea, the experiment, the discussion; the attention is focused on the culture as a phenomenon. This is a time of change and saturation of society, culture and art, and at the same time, everybody is still relentlessly searching for new and original ways of creative expression, to not get stale and try something new. Including us. This year's festival is characterized by an interaction of genres and mutual presence. We are and will be in the creative search phase and, in my opinion, it is the only possible way of further development,” explains the founder of Cesis Arts Festival Juris Žagars.

Along with a number of surprises in the festival's music program (for example, the new brilliant pianist Reinis Zariņš will perform together with the Dutch painter Maryleen Schiltkamp), there will be an exhibition of this year’s best theatre productions. We will see the classics (A. Chekhov, T. Williams), as well as the contemporary performances.

The closeness of Gauja provides Cesis with a special charm, and this year the scenic river will become the main star of the opening event and film program.  Cesis Art Festival will start with a concert on the 15th of July — in an acoustically selected place at the Erglu Cliffs, where musicians will perform on a platform in the middle of Gauja, but the audience seats will be located on the bank of the river.

During film screenings, the films will be projected on the cliffs, creating a unique audio-visual effect.

Contemporary art at this year’s Cesis Art Festival will be revealed in the form of presentations in the Cesis Concert Hall cinema auditorium.

The Cesis Concert Hall will be decorated with the works of the Latvian Art Academy graduates. The interdisciplinary exhibition will provide an insight into the thoughts, feeling and skills of the young artists, which will be conveyed through the visual language.

Ballet will return to the Cesis Art Festival program after a long break. On the 29th of July, there will be a ballet evening dedicated to the prematurely deceased outstanding Latvian ballet dancer Aleksejs Avečkins (1976–2013). It will feature great Riga Opera and ballet artists.

If you are having trouble deciding which way to go during the summer holidays, you can safely choose Cesis, as it has most impressive medieval castle ruins in Latvia. This background makes the modern art festival especially appealing, and forces you to anticipate it next year.