Cēsis arts festival - this year with a Northern twist

Cēsis arts festival, the largest regional arts festival in Latvia, has announced its schedule. It will take place in the lovely city of Cēsis from July 3 to August 9. The festival is dedicated to the Northern countries and their quest for identity in arts, music, cinema and architecture.

During the festival, a grand exhibition of contemporary art from the Baltics and Northern European countries is to be held at the old brewery of Cēsis. Artists from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are to participate in the festival. Meanwhile, the Vidzeme concert hall Cēsis will host Nordic In, an architectural exhibition of the Northern countries.

The festival will start on July 3 with the aforementioned exhibition at the brewery, called Distant Moods on a Blue Evening - a reference to poets Rainis and Aspazija, who are celebrating their 150th birthday this year. 

Indra Lukina, the director of the festival and Chairman of of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra Council, stressed that the orchestra, conducted by Andris Poga, will play Gustav Mahler's grandiose 3rd Symphony. 

On July 5 the Cēsis concert hall will see saxophone performances by Oskars Petrauskis and Hayrapet Arakelyan, with Raimonds Petrauskis and Gleb Korolev on the piano. 

But Cesis St. John's Church will host The Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra Choir on July 24.

And Normunds Šnē will conduct the Sinfonietta Riga concert, In the Light of the Northern Lighthouse, playing works by Erkki-Sven Tüür, Rolf Wallin, Sebastian Fagerlund, and legendary Jean Sibelius. 

The dramatic arts will be represented by Alvis Hermanis' acclaimed play Ziedonis and the Universe, as well as perfromances by Liepajas and National theater and the Daile theater.

And a marvelous cinema program is to be held as well, as the Cēsis concert hall will open the Swedish cinema part of the festival, curated by renowned cinema expert Valentina Freimane. On June 31 Liv & Ingmar, a movie about the love story of Liv Ullmann and Ingmar Bergman.

With the city flooding with culture for 9th consecutive year, small wonder that Cēsis is among the few cities that keep growing despite Latvia's demographic struggles.

See the full festival schedule here.

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