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Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in Riga

Marléne Keine and Mihail Chulpaev in Wonderful Pearl © Didzis Grodzs

A day at the Palace – not Buckingham, but Rundāle in Latvia

Good music is good music no matter where it comes from or when it was written. For 23 years, the International Early Music Festival in Riga proves the point with sold-out seasons leaving legions music-loving locals clamouring for more. 
Latvia National Opera House © Daiga Macpane

Riga for classical music and opera lovers

Coming from London, Paris or New York, you’re quite likely to start with the expectation that Riga will feel like a small city: after all, it’s of similar population to Sheffield or Detroit. 
Rundāle Palace © Didzis Grodzs

Classical Music in Latvia in 2017

From the Early Music Festival to contemporary opera, we guide you through what Latvia has to offer this year.
We interview

“It’s not a Cinderella story”: Kristine Opolais

Kristine Opolais © Tatyana Vlasova
Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais shot to international fame in 2010 in Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Bavarian State Opera. She talks to us having recently performed the role in Mary Zimmerman’s much anticipated new production at The Met.
We interview...

Born in Latvia: Elīna Garanča

Elīna Garanča © Karina Schwarz | DG
Elīna Garanča on why so many great voices are emerging from Latvia, as well as discussing key roles, singing competitions, and how her voice is developing.
We interview...

Born in Latvia: Baiba Skride

Baiba Skride © Marco Borggreve
Baiba Skride has been praised in Bachtrack reviews for her “sweet and cultured tone”, her “rich timbre” and her “earthy and resolute” playing. From Mozart to Mendelssohn, Sibelius to Szymanowski, we’ve reviewed Skride performing violin concertos all around the globe.
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RigaMozart, Schubert and Berg

Schubert, Mozart, Berg
Sinfonietta Rīga; Normunds Šnē; Kristian Bezuidenhout

RigaTigran Mansurian's Requiem

Mansurian: Requiem, for soprano, baritone, mixed chorus and string orchestra
Sinfonietta Rīga; Sigvards Kļava; Latvian Radio Choir

RigaJonathan Harvey and Latvians

Matīss Čudars, Auznieks, Harvey
Sinfonietta Rīga; Normunds Šnē; Matīss Čudars

RigaMozart and Polish classics

Mozart, Karlowicz, Baird, Lutosławski
Sinfonietta Rīga; Zbigniew Graca; Jarosław Bręk
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A meticulous musical makeover in Riga

Elīna Šimkus (Dido) and Anna Chierichetti (Belinda) © Emanuele Pucciarelli
Almost all the singers, orchestra and conductor were Italian, but it was local soprano Elīna Šimkus and the Latvian Radio Choir who sang Purcell’s magnum opus as if to the English manner born.
***11
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Resplendent in Gregorian chant and the Eton Choir Book

Latvian Radio Choir © Matiss Markovskis
In the tiny Baltic state of Latvia, music loving locals are hell-bent on going for Baroque.
****1
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Baroque rarities rapturously received in Riga

Elīna Šimkus and Christian Frattima © Jānis Porietis
Local soprano Elīna Šimkus was a fascinating combination of Farinelli and Emma Kirkby.
***11
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Piazzolla and premières: Argentina meets Latvia

Art-i-Shock © David Karlin
Piano, cello and marimba prove a tricky combination for Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, in a concert which interleaved them with newly written pieces by Latvian composers.
**111
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