From 29 to 31 July, for the 28th time, the Sigulda Livonian Order Castle, or Sigulda Castle Ruins, will turn into a venue for one of the most renowned music events in Latvia – the International Sigulda Opera Music Festival. Festival guests will be delighted to meet artists who have already performed in Sigulda, as well as to experience musical surprises – world opera soloists who will perform on the stage of the Sigulda Opera Music Festival for the first time.

The Sigulda Opera Music Festival will start on Friday, 29 July at 19.00 with the Festival Overture – the opening concert in the garden of Sigulda New Castle, featuring two outstanding violinists – Dainis Medjaņiks (Latvia/Germany), who is the winner of the Rising Stars 2009 Grand Prix and numerous international prizes, the young and talented violinist Elza Siliņa (Latvia), prima diva of the Latvian National Opera Jūlija Vasiljeva (soprano), as well as Laura Grecka (soprano) and Juris Ādamsons (baritone).

On Saturday, 30 July, at 15.00, the concert “Young Talents” will take place in the garden of the Sigulda New Castle, with the Youth Chamber Orchestra (led by Mārtiņš Bergs), soloists Bruno Ančāns (trumpet), Daniels Luganskis (tenor) and others.

On Saturday, 30 July, at 21.00, the main festival highlight event will take place at the Sigulda Castle Ruins Stage – the original staging of the opera “La bohème” by the great Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, with Maija Kovaļevska in the lead role of Mimì. The production will also feature another brilliant opera star – Bulgarian tenor Mihail Mihaylov, often compared to the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The soloists of the Latvian National Opera – Jānis Apeinis, Marlēna Keine, Rihards Mačanovskis, Krišjānis Norvelis, Andris Lapiņš and Kalvis Kalniņš will also appear on stage. The production is directed by Edmunds Freibergs, with Vladimir Kiradjiev (Vienna) at the conductor’s podium.

“La bohème” is considered one of Giacomo Puccini’s (1858-1924) finest works and one of the most romantic operas of all time. The main characters of “La bohème” are typical, mid-nineteenth-century Parisians: the poet Rodolfo, the painter Marcello, the musician Schaunard, the philosopher Colline, and others. One day, the seamstress Mimì enters their poverty-stricken, youthfully exuberant world. But Mimì’s fate has already been sealed – and not even Rodolfo’s love can save her.

Traditionally, the Sigulda Opera Music Festival will also feature a sacred music concert, this time on 31 July at 14.00 in the Sigulda Evangelical Lutheran Church, with soloists Juris Vizbulis and Aleksandra Špicberga, accompanied by the organist Ingūna Grīnberga.

The festival will culminate on 31 July at 18.00 with a grand Gala Concert, featuring outstanding opera artists – Tania Ivanova (Bulgaria), Perrine Madoeuf  (France), Dominik Sutowicz (Poland), Mihails Čulpajevs, Rinalds Kandalincevs, Edgars Ošleja, Ilona Bagele, Krišjānis Norvelis (Latvia). Conductor – Atvars Lakstīgala. The Festival Choir and Orchestra will also take part in the concert.

This year the festival will also be complemented by an exhibition of unique opera costumes made by costume designer Ieva Kundziņa.

The Opera Music Festival in Sigulda is supported by Sigulda Municipality, the Latvian Culture Capital Foundation, and Inchcape Motors Latvia Ltd.