Riga celebrates Culture Capital start

  • 2014-01-08
  • Staff and wire reports

FINAL TOUCHES: Riga prepares itself for a year in the spotlight.

RIGA - Riga this year wears the title ‘European Capital of Culture,’ and this means that a full year of exciting cultural events lie ahead. Throughout 2014, Riga residents and visitors will enjoy an abundant, diverse and high-quality cultural program. And to start the year, the month of January will offer a number of specially developed exhibitions, unique activities and events in different Riga locations, according to the event organizers. There will be celebrations for the whole city! The inaugural events will set out a course for forthcoming European Capital of Culture events and the content of the ‘Force Majeure’ program, as it is called.

Amber through the Ages exposition
This Museum of Natural History exposition will be the first stop along the Amber Road, a European Capital of Culture museum project. It will throw light on Baltic amber, demonstrating its natural forms, richness of tones and its significance in terms of the world’s amber deposits. It was amber which first created awareness of this region in ancient European cultures.
Jan. 17 – Dec. 31, Museum of Natural History

Richard Wagner’s opus in images: Rienzi. Rise and Fall
Richard Wagner began composing his third opera Rienzi in Riga and it was this opera which launched him on the path to world renown. The opera’s and composer’s links to Riga are also emphasized in this new production.
Jan. 21 and June 3, 15 at the Latvian National Opera

All-day events throughout the city – at museums, cafes, exhibitions
Tasting the Riga 2014 Program

Riga Central Market and its pavilions present a unique event, an opportunity to ‘taste’ all of the 2014 program. Visit each of the pavilions and the Riga International Bus Terminal to feel the ambience of each Program Chapter and, of course, the traditional market offerings.
8:00 – 17:30, Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Riga Central Market and the International Bus Terminal

The Path of Light – Chain of Book Lovers
This activity by the people, and for the people, in which books from the old building of the National Library of Latvia are passed hand-to-hand to the new building across the Daugava river, is one of the 2014 inaugural events. The Chain of Book Lovers is a symbolic joining of hands, attesting to the value system prevailing in Riga and Latvia.
Join in the fun – register beforehand at: www.riga2014.org/eng/ and click on ‘Join the Chain of Booklovers.’
Saturday, Jan. 18 in the streets of Riga between the old and new National Library of Latvia buildings.

1914 Exhibition
The 1914 exhibition highlights the impact of the First World War on culture, presenting both the works of artists of that period and contemporary interpretations of war by the artists of today. Visitors will not only discover unique photographs and the works of Latvian classical modernism, but also paintings, graphic art and unique examples of sculpture from other countries representing their most prestigious art museums and national galleries.
Jan. 18 – April 20, Arsenals Exhibition hall

The Parade of Light
A poetic night-time spectacle that will not only illuminate the city, but also the eyes of its audience. The Parade of Light, directed by HELMNOT, is a mobile night-time spectacle, full of majestic figures illuminating the night. The central attraction is a 7 meter high and 8 meter long light ship, lit up in a continuous series of indescribable colors throughout the spectacle.
Jan. 18, 18.00, 11.novembra krastmala st. on the Daugava riverbank

World Fire Sculpture Championship
The life of a fire sculpture is short. They are created to experience their most beautiful time while burning, sometimes for as little as 10 minutes. The teams of two professional sculptors from 12 countries will, over three days, build wooden structures up to 6 meters high. These will be lit on Saturday – the day of the competition, when the jury will select one as world champion.
12.00 – 18:00, Jan. 16-18, sculptors work in public. 19.30 on Jan. 18, Grand Final, at the Kipsala beach by Vansu (suspension) bridge

European Capital of Culture Opening Event: Riga dimd! (Riga resounds!)
This concert, featuring Latvia’s most outstanding classical, world and popular music artists, choirs and orchestras, will also be broadcast live on TV to neighboring countries Estonia and Lithuania. The concert’s message is a testament to Riga’s historical and contemporary charm and diversity.
21.00, Saturday, Jan. 18, at Arena Riga

Exhibition of Kinetic Art: visionary structures. From Ioganson to Johansons
The exhibition, organized by the Center for Contemporary Art, is an excursion into Latvian avant-garde art of the 20th and 21st centuries. It features the works of seven innovative Latvian artists, providing insights into the experimental, even utopian artistic values of their eras. The exhibition is a dialogue between different time periods, revealing the interconnectedness and continuity in the works of art, each of which belongs to a different era and another ideological epoch.
Jan. 19 to March 16 at the new National Library of Latvia

Full schedule at /goto/riga2014.org