Festival Opening Concert – 26th December 2018
Having recently returned from Latvia, I continue to feel uplifted and inspired by my experiences. The Song and Dance Festival in Riga was particularly beautiful as well as patriotic and moving. All that occurred was a cocktail of what it is to be Latvian and created a sense of deep satisfaction. It is difficult to express how it felt to sing in the final concert with 17,500 others; unforgettable. At times our eyes filled with tears, but we continued to sing with all our hearts.
I was also privileged to be in the audience for the epic folk dancing performance of “Māra’s land”, which included dancers from Australia. As the mother of a dancer, I enjoyed this incredibly rich performance with unbridled pride and enthusiasm.
There was so much more to experience: the opening parade, concerts in the parks,exhibitions, markets and the Latvian’ joy for life. Who wouldn’t want this to keep going? I stayed until the end of August, to experience more and more! I visited many towns and participated in their celebrations, concerts and salutes to Latvia’s 100 years of independence. Sadly, although the celebrations continue, the time had come for me to leave. Just like the storks, as their babies leave the nest, I left Latvia to fly back home.
I invite everyone to continue a celebration of Latvia’s 100 years at the Latvian Arts Festival to be held in Adelaide at the end of this year. I have the honour of organizing the Opening Concert on 26 December at 4.00 pm, Latvian Hall Tālava. We will start our celebrations with a joyous event; the speeches and our anthem leading into a very special performance.
We will hear for the first time a work by Uģis Prauliņš “Venus et Amor”, performed by Veseris, acclaimed men’s choir from Melbourne. Compositions by Prauliņš are not unfamiliar to Australians, as “Pagānu gada grāmata” conducted by Ivars Cinkuss, was performed by Melbourne singers at the last Arts Festival. In Latvia this year his beautiful song “Dievaines” was performed at the Closing Concert. “Pilsēta” a beloved song for male choir’s has also been heard. It is music which never fails to evoke a response.
The lyrics for the musical composition “Venus at Amor” have been inspired by Thomas Campion’s works of poetry (1619) and the latin Songs of Soloman (1:9 – 13:2). Creative directors for this performance ar Sandra and Roberts Birze, with conductor Edgar Wegner. The choir Veseris, will be supported by a number of soloists, as well as Sandra Birze (alto, piano), from Adelaide Jānis Laurs on cello, Ivars Štubis (accordion), Dāvids Zemdegs (bass guitar), Ēriks and Miķelis Stepanuks (percussion). This is bound to be an awe-inspiring and profound performance.
After the debut of Prauliņš’ work, join us for refreshments, because it won’t end there. Following the formalities we will welcome the festival with a few surprises. Just quietly, we will be entertained by two ensembles of ‘kokles’, from Adelaide, which like mushrooms after rain, grew after Laima Jansone ran Masterclasses in playing the kokle earlier this year. There will be other surprises as well, so come and see for yourselves!
We welcome warmly everyone to our Adelaide Latvian festival of Arts. It will be time to experience, enjoy and linger in an atmosphere of festivity and joy.
Festival opening concert organiser