The programme of NARVA OPERA FESTIVAL, a cultural event to wrap up the summer in the city of Narva on the Estonian and European border, features Neeme Kuningas’ production of Mozart’s opera buffa “The Marriage of Figaro”, Rossini’s opera “Cinderella”, gala evenings to celebrate baroque and the 100th birthday of Georg Ots, and children’s musical “The Little Witch”.
Julia Savitskaja, the artistic director of the festival, says all the performances of Narva Opera Festival will be taking place in the Opera Tent to be erected within the walls of the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company. The only summer opera festival in Estonia will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this year.
“Since Narva does not have an opera house of its own, the festival means Narva residents can enjoy superior musical performance without leaving the city once a year. However, the primary goal of the opera festival lies in motivating the audiences who value culture to travel to Narva; this is why the programme comprises the performances that cannot be seen in Estonia at any other time,” Julia Savitskaja elaborated.
The opening event of Narva Opera Festival on 4 September provides a chance to enjoy one of the great classics of the world, the Jerusalem Lyric Opera Festival’s production of Mozart’s opera buffa “The Marriage of Figaro” with the participation of soloists from major opera houses (the Israeli Opera, La Scala Opera and Opera National de Paris) and Neeme Kuningas as the producer.
There is another famous production of the Jerusalem Lyric Opera Festival in the programme of Narva Opera Festival: Rossini’s “Cinderella”, which was composed for Jacopo Ferretti’s libretto based on Charles Perrault's namesake fairy tale and drew inspiration from Nicolas Isouard’s libretto for Charles-Guillaume Etienne’s opera and Francesco Fiorini’s libretto for Stefano Pavesi’s opera “Agatina, o La virtù premiata”.
The gala concert of the festival features the baroque ensemble Collegium Musicum Riga from Latvia, which will be bringing a performance of three baroque operas to the audience on one evening: Monteverdi’s “Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda”, Carissimi’s “Jephte” and Rebel & Francoeur’s “Isméne”.
The programme also offers quality theatre experience to children and families: there is St. Petersburg Music Hall’s new production, the children’s musical “The Little Witch” based on the namesake story by Otfried Preussler.
The festival concludes on 13 September with a gala event dedicated to 100th anniversary of Georg Ots, featuring the famous Estonian baritone’s arias performed by Marko Matvere and Pavlo Balakin.
“None of the performances of Narva Opera Festival have been selected for the programme at random. The choir of the Kreenholm Manufacturing Company, founded 162 years ago, was once conducted by the grandfather of Georg Ots! Now we can enjoy contemporary opera from Estonia and its neighbouring countries in this deliciously historical environment. Narva Opera Festival is the meeting place of east and west, history and the present day, aristocrats, and bohemians. The freshest breeze of global musical theatre is blowing around this abandoned industrial complex. In Kreenholm, you can experience czarist airs, Soviet festivity, and present-day cosmopolitanism. Here avant-garde boldness is combined with the best traditions,” Julia Savitskaja said.
The initiator of Narva Opera festival is the opera singer Julia Savitskaja, who comes from Narva and has been organising the festival since 2015. In 2018, she was given the “Cultural Pearl Award” (Kultuuripärl) by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.
The sponsors of the festival are Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Enterprise Estonia, Estonian Folk Culture Development Centre, Alexela, Selver and Narva Gate.