The 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival Preliminary Programme Presented

Date created: 04.02.2017.

The Preliminary Programme of the Festival's 68th season – which will traditionally take place from 10 July to 25 August – has been presented by Mladen Tarbuk, the DSF Acting Artistic Director, and Ivana Medo Bogdanović, the DSF Executive Director, within the Festival of St Blaise and the City of Dubrovnik Day, on Thursday, 2 February, at the Festival Palace.

This year's premieres will include two plays dealing with an individual's freedom of action within strict limitations of the given social reality: Miroslav Krleža's Messrs Glembay, and a Hrvoje Ivanković dramaturgical adaptation of the biography of- and texts by Marin Držić, Dubrovnik's great supporter of freedom of speech, entitled #Držić - Enemy's Victory. 

In Messrs Glembay, Krleža lucidly portrays characters who lack freedom defined by the paradoxically liberal capitalism in a way which – if we remove all Germanisms and Hungarianisms – resembles a contemporary portrayal of present-day masters of Croatian market. The 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival premiere of Messrs Glembay will be directed by Zlatko Sviben. In the second Festival's premiere, Ivanković depicts Držić’s dispute with the Dubrovnik Republic on the basis of numerous existing documents and anecdotes. By combining Držić’s biographical data and fragments from his numerous comedies and pastoral plays, Ivanković creates a special kind of glossary of their present-day meaning. The play commemorating the 450th anniversary of Držić’s death will be directed by Ivica Boban.

Last year's hit plays La bottega del caffè and Othello - which enthralled critics and the Festival's audience alike, and for which people requested extra tickets - will be part of this summer's repertoire again. Translated and adapted by Frano Čale, Carlo Goldoni's La bottega del caffè is one of the legendary plays from the Festival's golden age. Last year's staging of this play in the form of a comedy with song and dance, directed by Vinko Brešan and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble, attracted more than 4.000 visitors. An additional performance was shown, and the tickets were sold out many days in advance. William Shakespeare's Othello – translated by Vladimir Gerić, directed by Ivica Boban and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble on Fort Lovrjenac – was also warmly received by both audiences and critics, who wrote: „The play worthy of its glory, the present day, and the crowded auditorium“, …„Dubrovnik's Othello was entirely made of unbribable emotions. The outstanding drama ensemble was headed by Dragan Despot in the role of Othello, Rakan Rushaidat in the role of Iago, and Anja Đurinović in the role of Desdemona. The entire ensemble was awarded the Orlando Award for the best play, while  Ivica Boban was awarded the Croatian Theatre Award for the best direction in the current Croatian theatrical season.

Guest performances will include the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb last year's hit play by Tena Štivičić, Three Winters, directed by Ivica Buljan. The play was first performed in London with great success, won the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in New York, and became a major hit at the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb. Following the longstanding tradition, the Festival audience will have the opportunity to watch the most recent premiere by the Lero Students Theatre, The Shadow City, directed by Davor Mojaš. As one more dedication to Dubrovnik, the play consists of fragments by Dubrovnik authors Milan Milišić, Nikola Gučetić, Ivo Vojnović, Nikola Nalješković and Davor Mojaš, to name but a few.

The music and stage programme will include a premiere of Handel's Orlando, featuring David Bates, Artistic Director, Janusz Sikora, Director, the Croatian Baroque Ensemble, and the soloists: Owen Willetts, Ivana Lazar, Renata Pokupić, Marija Kuhar Šoša and David Oštrek. Ballet lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy the most popular „white ballet“ of all times and a synonym of classical ballet art, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, choreographed by the famous Vladimir Malakhov and produced by the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb. The rehearsals are in progress, and the premiere is scheduled for March. Another dance highlight is the piece for four dancers, A Love Supreme, inspired by music of John Coltrane, after whose famous jazz album the piece was named. The dance is choreographed by  Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis, and produced by Rosas & De Munt/La Monnaie ensemble of the Brussels Royal Opera.

The Festival's rich music programme relies on its extensive collaboration with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, which thus becomes its residential orchestra. Nearly every Friday, this orchestra will perform a programme consisting of the standard repertoire and the works by Dubrovnik composers Rogowski and Obradović. The performance of the piece Forgotten Music will mark the 80th anniversary of the birth of the major Croatian composer who now resides in Dubrovnik, Dubravko Detoni. Other highlights will include a representative selection of American 20th century music performed under the baton of Maestro Richard Rosenberg, perhaps the leading authority for the repertoire originating from the USA (the country whose freedom and independence were first recognised by the Dubrovnik Republic), and by the violin virtuoso and conductor Hakan Sensoy, the leading name of the Western music in Turkey and also a promoter of modern Turkish composers. – explained Mladen Tarbuk presenting the Festival programme for the forthcoming season.

The pianist Goran Filipec prepared a recital of Franz Liszt music, choosing works from his late composing period in which Liszt explored the limits of freedom in music, announcing the new époque of Schönberg, Hindemith and Debussy. Particularly attractive are the programmes of the Umberto Giordano Ensemble, whose repertoire comprises Beethoven's arrangements of European folk songs, and Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time performed by The 1887 Trio. Other recitals at the Rector's Palace include those by the cellist Monika Leskovar and the guitarist Petrit Çeku; the violist Aleksandar Milošev and the pianist Lovro Pogorelić; and the violinist Stefan Milenkovich and the pianist Rohan de Silva. Katarina Livljanić and Danijel Detoni will perform a recital inspired by the theme La belle époque... médiévale. Guitar music lovers will enjoy the recital of Srđan Bulat, and the 4 guitars concert featuring Zoran Dukić, Petrit Çeku, Tvrtko Sarić and Maroje Brčić. The concerts at the Rector's palace will also include that by the Nemanja Radulović & Friends chamber ensemble, and the authorial project of electronic installations by the multi-award winning young musicians: the percussionist Filip Merčep and the violist Tara Horvat. The Closing Concert, taking place on 25 August in front of St Blaise's Church, will feature the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and the violinist Aleksey Semenenko, last year's Orlando Award winner.

In addition to the traditional performances of Linđo Folklore Ensemble, the accompanying programme will present a selection of the best films from the Pula Film Festival; an exhibition of paintings by Antun Masle including some of his works which have never been displayed before; and a new edition of The Festival Features Writers project by Mani Gotovac.

The 68th Dubrovnik Summer Festival's financial plan foresees a budget of nearly 11 million kunas, which is similar to the last year's budget. 65% of the funds will be covered by public institutions; the Ministry of Culture, the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and tourist boards, while the Festival will cover the remaining 35% from its own income and sponsorships. – said Ivana Medo Bogdanović, claiming to expect a financially stable year.