“Despite the loss of revenue from ticket sales due to the two-month corona crisis, we present the summer season of the Rijeka Croatian National Theatre which will feature 49 programs, of which seven are premieres, in June, July and September. It is, at first glance, a combination of two extremes: zero kuna revenue, and a total of 49 performances of various programs. Such a program really could not be realized if one part of it were not an integral component of the ECoC project. We need to break the illusion that we would be able to realize programs like the recent ‘Practicing Life – Second Time’, or that the opera ‘Tristan and Isolde’ would ever see the lights of the stage as we saw in February without the funds provided by ECoC,” said Marin Blažević, Intendant of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka, during today’s presentation of the summer season. The season starts with the premiere of the ballet “Lace” on Friday, June 5, and will last until September, with a break in August. Besides that, the Rijeka intendant especially emphasized the fact that Rijeka, which based on its population qualifies as a small city by European standards, has a theatre and a number of other cultural institutions that other European capitals of culture don’t have, and which can create this kind of rich and ambitious program with their resources. “Given its institutions and the entire cultural infrastructure, both current and still under construction, I believe that Rijeka is not just the European Capital of Culture for 2020, but that it was before and will continue to be so after this unfortunate year 2020,” Blažević concluded.
Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel expressed satisfaction with the continuation of the work of the Croatian National Theatre and the fact that the announced ECoC programs are continuing as planned, though rescheduled due to the epidemiological situation, all thanks to the employees of Rijeka’s “Zajc” who prepared new projects for spectators while the theatre was closed, all while adapting to new circumstances and renovating the theatre building.
The director of the Ballet, Maša Kolar, announced two ballet premieres: “Lace” (“Čipka”) in early June and “Burning Water” (“Plamteća voda”) by Andonis Foniadakis in July, thanking the ballet ensemble, whose work enabled the renewal of previously started and temporarily interrupted work on these performances in a short period.
From the summer program of the Opera, Marin Blažević singled out the premiere of the opera “Julius Caesar in Egypt – Anew” by G. F. Händel in the ExportDrvo space, and from CNT Rijeka’s concert program, the concert of the Rijeka Opera Choir and other Rijeka choirs dedicated to the 140th anniversary of the birth and 60th anniversary of the death of Ivan Matetić Ronjgov in June, a gala concert of Rijeka’s opera soloists “Nessun dorma” and a concert by Finnish and world opera star Karita Mattila in September.
Renata Carola Gatica, director of the Croatian drama company, announced three premieres: “Practicing Life – Second Time,” in collaboration with the Italian drama company, then the acting and puppet show for young people and adults “King Oedipus”, directed by Luciano Delprato and Nusic’s “Madame Minister” directed by Tatjana Mandić Rigonat, with which the national drama principal Olivera Baljak will celebrate the 40th anniversary of her artistic work in July.
According to its director Giulio Settimo, besides “Practicing Life,” the Italian drama company is preparing for the premiere of the play “Il vangelo nel nemico / Gospel of the Enemy” by Roberta Dubac for July, who won first prize in the “Istria Nobilissima” competition with this text.
The press conference was concluded by the head of the Department of Culture, Ivan Šarar: “When planning the program, we tried to get as much out of the summer and summer months as we could due to their more favorable epidemiological circumstances and the uncertainty of autumn. Because of that, an uncommonly rich and intense summer program was created with a lavish scope that will inaugurate two new spaces, ExportDrvo and the Rijeka Resolution Square (“Trg Riječke rezolucije”). We hope that Rijeka will therefore, even if to a lesser extent, will shine on the map of Croatian cultural tourism.”