At today’s press conference at the Design Hotel “Navis,” Finnish soprano and world opera diva Karita Mattila called her upcoming Rijeka gala concert a gift of life that, despite her long and rich career, is particularly special to her for more than one reason. It will be her first time performing in Croatia, which she’d heard is a wonderful country and easy to fall in love with, and it will be her joint concert debut with maestro Matvejeff, her longtime collaborator and friend, alongside the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, and with a special concert program. Though the program comprises her favorite arias, this is the first time she will be performing them on the same evening. In addition, she revealed two mottos that she always follows, including on this occasion: “Do your best,” and “All or nothing.”
Intendant Marin Blažević opened the press conference with his memories of the first performances by Karita Mattila he attended. The first time was in the New York Metropolitan, when, due to the ovations that accompanied her first appearance on the stage in Leoš Janáček’s opera “The Makropoulos Affair,” he realized he was witnessing an exceptional opera event, and Karita Mattila’s performance as Emilia Marty then convinced him that he was watching and listening to an opera artist who was already a legend at the time. On another occasion, at the Royal Opera House in London, he watched Berg’s “Wozzeck,” in which Karita Mattila appeared in the lead female role of Marie. The fact that she carried such a demanding role not only as a singer but also as an actor led him to think that those who had the opportunity to see and hear Maria Callas live must have had such a spectator experience. Everyone who gathers at the Rijeka Theatre on Friday to attend the performance by this truly unique opera artist, Karita Mattila, will be able to see that this is no overstatement.
What makes her performance special is the unusual breadth of her repertoire, due to which she will perform arias from operas by Puccini, Dvořák and Wagner in Rijeka, as well as works by composer Jean Sibelius from her native Finland, which she regularly includes in her repertoire, much like maestro Ville Matvejeff. He called this concert a great musical journey from Sibelius to Wagner, and the crown of his long-term collaboration with the Rijeka Opera and the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra. He emphasized that he shares the same feelings as Karita Mattila and that he sees the concert as a gift in this bizarre, uncertain time, and that he believes the concert will be a special gift for the Rijeka audience. It will be their first performance with the current restrictive measures and a completely new situation in which, as maestro Matvejeff said, they are still trying to find something good and inspiring, and opening themselves to new ideas for making music together.
Irena Kregar Šegota, director of the ECOC-Rijeka 2020 Project, emphasized that this is an event that we will surely remember as one that marked Rijeka 2020. She thanked maestro Matvejeff for not giving up on the project despite the pandemic, thereby putting Rijeka in a privileged position at the European level.
The mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, said that every European Capital of Culture aspires to the European level, and that our concert has gained a global dimension with the concert of Karita Mattila.
General Sponsor of the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra
Sponsor of the Karita Mattila Gala Concert