The summer season of the Rijeka Orchestra begins with a total of four symphony concerts, starting with the symphony concert “Eroica” on Wednesday, June 10, in honor of medical staff, the heroes in the fight against Covid-19.
This will be their first concert under a new name — the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra (RSO) (Croatian: Riječki simfonijski orkestar) —and it will be the first with a new general sponsor, INA. The program will include two third symphonies: Luka Sorkočević’s Third Symphony, and the Third Symphony “Eroica” by Ludwig van Beethoven.
At today’s press conference, Intendant Marin Blažević, expressing gratitude for the continuation of their traditional cooperation, emphasized the exceptional importance of INA’s financial support, which will accompany the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra for the next three years. He then explained the origin of the orchestra’s name change from the Orchestra of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc to the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra.
“Five years ago, the head of the Department of Culture, Ivan Šarar, suggested rebranding our orchestra, which is the only symphony orchestra along our Adriatic coast. International record companies for which the Rijeka Opera has recorded also suggested that we shorten the orchestra’s too-long name and make it more attractive. After a few years of deliberation, we decided on the name Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, which, thanks to Ina, will perform the concert ‘Eroica,’ the first under its new name,” said Blažević.
He then announced three other symphony concerts: the “Emperor Concerto”, which is dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth on June 19, “From the New World” on July 2 and 3, and the “Adams, Shostakovich” concert on July 31.
Then already in September, as announced by Blažević, one of the most important symphony projects will follow: the performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony in collaboration with the HRT Choir and Symphony Orchestra and a total of about 200 performers. It will first be held in Rijeka, then in the “Lisinski” concert hall in Zagreb. In addition, the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra will accompany world opera divas Karita Mattila and Elina Garanča at their Rijeka concerts.
“I am pleased that we are continuing our cooperation today through many years of general sponsorship of the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, and that as a company we can support the creation of the Rijeka CNT brand,” said INA representative Ms. Sanja Jakovac Šepić, Head of Production and Energy Management at INA – Rijeka Oil Refinery, and added, “What makes us especially happy is that the concert is dedicated to health professionals. They are largely responsible for the fact that the concert season has finally begun and that favorable conditions have been created for the audience to return to the theatre. INA has also expressed its gratitude to the heroes who cared for all our safety by providing free coffee for healthcare workers, police and firefighters, during which we distributed more than 70,000 coffees. After donating funds to the purchase of protective equipment at the beginning of the year to the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Health Center, we upgraded our successful cooperation as general sponsor of the concert by designating a set number of tickets for their employees.”
In his address to the media, concertmaster Romeo Drucker first emphasized that the members of the orchestra worked even when the theatre was closed to the public, and that, after several chamber concerts in small ensembles, they were happy to perform in full and to perform works of musical greats, who were in turn great fighters, either with life’s adversities or with their own creations they burned for.
“I would like to point out two moments that are especially important in this story. It is important that Rijeka has a permanent symphony orchestra corps—the only one outside Zagreb—as this is a civilizational achievement and substantially affects the cultural profile of the city. Equally important is that INA is the general sponsor of the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, continuing a long and strong tradition, because it’s a corporation that has had a significant impact on our city, and therefore we welcome their decision to stay with the Rijeka Theatre,” said Ivan Šarar, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Rijeka, at the end of the press conference.