Ville Matvejeff, our honorary guest conductor and an audience favorite, has already arrived in Rijeka to conduct the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra in the concert Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Ravel on Saturday, February 20, and Händel’s opera Julius Caesar in Egypt – Anew on Friday, February 26. Maestro Matvejeff needs no special introduction, as our audience already recognizes and loves his multiple talents as a conductor, composer, pianist and harpsichordist. His last appearance on the Zajc stage was at the end of last season at the Karita Mattila Gala Concert, and he is finally returning to the conductor’s stand in Rijeka.
Saturday’s symphony concert will introduce you to the world of French classics. The program will open with the suite Pélleas and Mélisande by Gabriel Fauré, stage music composed for the London staging of Maeterlinck’s 1898 drama of the same name. This romantic and tragic composition about the forbidden love of two young lovers is one of Fauré’s most famous works. The middle portion of the concert will present Camille Saint-Saëns’s Second Symphony, which is rife with contrasts – from dramatic and energetic to quiet and gentle sections. The concert program will conclude with Maurice Ravel’s Ma mère l’Oye (“My Mother Goose”) , with which the author, by his own admission, sought to “conjure up childhood poetry.” This fairytale composition is interwoven with enchanting sounds reminiscent of a magical fairy garden.
Georg Friedrich Händel’s baroque opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto, dramatized and directed by Marin Blažević, premiered in June 2020, and you will be able to experience its renewed version adapted to anti-epidemic measures next week, on Friday, February 26. Maestro Matvejeff will also perform as a harpsichordist, and Julius Caesar will be played by Diana Haller, an honorary member of the Opera ensemble. Anamarija Knego will perform the role of Cleopatra, Sesto will be portrayed by Michaela Selinger, and Luka Ortar will make his debut in the role of Achilla.
Maestro Ville Matvejeff is also the artistic director of one of the most famous and prestigious opera festivals in the world – the Savonlinna Opera Festival. This season, the Rijeka Opera production team was invited to present two operas at the Festival: Händel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Massenet’s Werther.