Consult the Church night website to find an event tailored to your personal musical and architectural spirit Friday as Latvia’s churches follow in the footsteps of museums and open their doors to the public. The concert program is rich enough to turn many a promoter green with envy. In Riga there are 40 churches taking part, 35 in Kurzeme province, 39 in Vidzeme, 16 in Zemgale and 15 in Latgale. Believer or not, you should join the congregation at least for this Friday night.
In Cēsis at the newly one-year-old Vidzeme Concert Hall a five-show sprint begins under the flag of the 12th Kremerata Baltica Festival. This year it is dedicated to the works of Mieczysław Weinberg. Patron and host Gidon Kremer has invited many guest vocal and instrumental soloists from around the world.
The Riga Festival under the guidance of Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste also continues Friday night with the Sinfonietta Riga at the Great Guild Hall.
Then kicking off Friday as well (but lasting until June 18) is the Riga Opera Festival, devoted to Puccini this year. Opening night will feature diva Maija Kovaļevska singing Mimi’s role in La Boheme, while Saturday Asmik Grigoryan will be seen in the lead role of Manon Lesco.
On Saturday at the Dzintars Concert Hall director Rēzija Kalniņa’s concept concert based on the letters between poets Rainis and Aspazija will be conducted by Ainārs Rubiķis and performed by the National Symphony Orchestra and youth choir Kamēr.
Local fests: Valka/Valga, Suntaži, Liepupe, Rauna – don’t forget Daugavpils!
Livonian towns are ripe with events this weekend, starting with border town Valka. On Friday at 19:00 on the Estonian side of twin city Valga one can catch the Valga City Legends with choir, folk dance troupe and band of musicians and top it off with an open-air dance party from 20:30.
Meanwhile the joint music festival Borderrock is taking place at the open-air venue of Valka Friday and Saturday.
There are a number of parallel events Saturday from 10-14:00 in Valka and later Saturday afternoon. But in Valga town’s central square you can check out the Livonian Fair from 8-16:00 with lots of other attractions there.
Things stretch into Sunday in the border towns with lawnmower races, beach volleyball and a traditional joint municipal boating rally in the Pedele River.
Find out more before you go at valka.lv!
Other regional entertainment choices include the Silver Gull Acoustic Music Festival in the beach village of Liepupe of Salacgrīva district with a fantastic line up of contestants and venerable guests including opera singer Evita Zālīte and 12-string guitar accompanist Ilze Grunte and The Sound Poets.
Rauna is also throwing a festival Thoughts like Bread with a wide-ranging offering, strangely touting contratenor Sergejs Jēgers as a feature of its ‘Loud Music Concert’.
The central Vidzeme outskirt of Suntaži hosts a Rock Night on its open-air field Saturday.
Vocal group Latvian Voices travels to Rezekne’s Gors for its “Over borders” concert program of its own originals and some classic pop-rock covers like Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U”. Still more interesting collaborations promise to be part of the varied show.
Ethnographic Open-Air Folk Crafts Fair
This is the annual fair’s 45th year of uninterrupted tradition, known to most without any commentary necessary. However the uninitiated should prepare their 4 euro admission charge (less for seniors, students and kids) and scrounge all the cash they can for some amazing Latvian natural crafts. But get there early before the most beautiful and coveted items are snatched up by savvy buyers with years of experience under their folk belts!