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Flamenco star another highlight at Ljubljana Festival

Ljubljana, 4 July - Following the Aida opera opening spectacle, the 67th Ljubljana Festival continues with another highlight as Spanish flamenco star Maria Pages's An Ode to Time is performed at the open-air Križanke venue on Thursday evening.

Ljubljana
Monday's opening of the 67th Ljubljana Festival with Vredi's Aida in Congress Square.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Ljubljana
Monday's opening of the 67th Ljubljana Festival with Vredi's Aida in Congress Square.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Ljubljana
Monday's opening of the 67th Ljubljana Festival with Vredi's Aida in Congress Square.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Ljubljana
Monday's opening of the 67th Ljubljana Festival with Vredi's Aida in Congress Square.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Ljubljana
Monday's opening of the 67th Ljubljana Festival with Vredi's Aida in Congress Square.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

"My new production is about the topics that have always intrigued humanity - time and the transience of life," Pages said at yesterday's news conference in Ljubljana.

An acclaimed award-wining artist known for her own take on flamenco, Pages also directed the production, for which the text was written by her close aide and dramaturg El Arbi El Harti.

The show is an allegory about the present, with its possibilities of happiness, utopias, terrorism, attacks on equality or backslides in democracy. The festival organisers billed it as "a dance journey full of emotion and intelligence".

Another highlight comes next Thursday as US baritone Thomas Hampson and Rumanian soprano Elena Mosuc sing arias and duets at Cankarjev Dom.

The pair will be accompanied by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, which this year became the festival's residence orchestra, the first time for both institutions.

Mahler's Symphony No 2 will be played at Cankarjev Dom on 15 July, featuring Bucharest-born soprano Valentina Farcas and German mezzo soprano Bettina Ranch as soloists.

The Resurrection Symphony premiered in 1895 in Berlin, just a few years after Mahler left Ljubljana, where he was a conductor at the Regional Theatre from 1881 to 1882.

Russia's LDM Novaya Scena theatre will perform two musicals based on two pivotal Russian novels in August - Eugene Onegin, which fuses traditional Russian theatre and Broadway, and The Master and Margarita, which will be laced with fantasy.

While Aida was a co-production of the Ljubljana Festival and featured some dozen Lipizzan horses, another of Verdi's operas, Traviata, is scheduled for late August.

A production of Turin's Teatro Regio, the story about unrequited love will feature sopranos Maria Grazia Schiavo and Irina Dubrovskaja plus tenor Giulio Pelligra in lead roles.

Ballet is another staple of the festival, with Ukraine prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova from the Bolshoi Theatre putting on a show of the most memorable ballet choreographies in early September.

The festival will culminate with the Israeli Philharmonics, conducted by legendary Indian maestro Zubin Mehta, who is on a farewell tour before retirement.

On 5 September, the orchestra will play three major representatives of Classicism and the Romantic Era: Beethoven, Hayden and Berlioz.

The festival will also feature several more popular events such as concerts by Slovenian singer-songwriters Tomaž Domicelj and Vlado Kreslin, and jazz rhythms by Grammy-winnig bass guitar players, Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke.

Last year the festival featured over 70 events performed by more than 4,000 artists from over 30 countries, attracting more than 60,000 visitors from Slovenia and abroad.

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© STA, 2019