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Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in Latvia

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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

RigaSinfonietta Riga's closing concert

Haydn, Strauss R., Britten, Gruber
Sinfonietta Rīga; Normunds Šnē; Herve Joulain
INTERVIEWS
Kristine Opolais © Tatyana Vlasova
INTERVIEW

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

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.
Elīna Garanča © Karina Schwarz | DG
INTERVIEW

Born in Latvia: Elīna Garanča

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.
Baiba Skride © Marco Borggreve
INTERVIEW

Born in Latvia: Baiba Skride

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.
ARTICLES AND MORE
Rundāle Palace © Didzis Grodzs
PREVIEW

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.
Latvia National Opera House © Daiga Macpane
we visit...

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. 
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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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Sidorova seduces and astounds as Carmen

Roberto Koch and Ksenija Sidorova © Kaspars Balamovskis
For those more familiar with grim-faced matronly Salvation Army accordion players, voluptuous virtuoso Ksenija Sidorova certainly breaks the mould.
****1
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Georgian panduris and salamuris in Latvia

Jaba Margvelani playing the gudastviri © Kaspars Balamovskis
Georgian ethno-jazz band Egari lifts the roof in Latvia in a highly original genre of traditional music played in contemporary style.
***11
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A grande bouffe of early music

La Cetra d'Orfeo © Didzis Grodzs
Outdoor concerts are always prey to the vicissitudes of weather. The Festival of Early Music in Lativa is so well organized, unexpected light rain started just at the beginning of the interval and politely ceased before the second half of the programme. 
***11
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UPCOMING EVENTS AND LATEST REVIEWS OF LATVIAN PERFORMERS ALL OVER THE WORLD
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Hong KongMaxim Rysanov & Hong Kong Sinfonietta

© Laszlo Emmer
Young, Vasks, Bartók
Hong Kong Sinfonietta; Yip Wing-sie; Maxim Rysanov

AntwerpTime Is Endless

Time Is Endless
Rachmaninov, Pärt, MacMillan, Rautavaara, Saariaho, De Ley, Miskinis, Ešenvalds
Klaas Stok; Flemish Radio Choir

HasseltTime Is Endless

Time Is Endless
Rachmaninov, Pärt, MacMillan, Rautavaara, Saariaho, De Ley, Miskinis, Ešenvalds
Klaas Stok; Flemish Radio Choir

LondonThe Bach Choir: Darkness to Light

© The Bach Choir
Mahler, Copland, Ešenvalds, Haydn
Philharmonia Orchestra; David Hill; The Bach Choir; Carolyn Sampson; Kathryn Rudge; Andrew Tortise

BrusselsTime Is Endless

Time Is Endless
Rachmaninov, Pärt, MacMillan, Rautavaara, Saariaho, De Ley, Miskinis, Ešenvalds
Klaas Stok; Flemish Radio Choir

RigaJonathan Harvey and Latvians

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

LondonThe Choir of Royal Holloway

Ešenvalds, Clausen, Lauridsen, Miskinis, Maskats
Rupert Gough; Choir of Royal Holloway

BergenEdvard Grieg Choir and Voces8

Bach, Grieg, Gjeilo, Ešenvalds
Edvard Grieg Choir; Voces8
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Andris Nelsons leads Leipzig Week in Boston

Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony © Michael Blanchard
With Andris Nelsons about to debut as Kapellmeister at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, a collaboration with his Boston Symphony was inaugurated in style. 
***11
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More than A Little Night Music: Mozart and Shostakovich in Boston

Kristine Opolais, Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony © Robert Torres
Andris Nelsons' Mozart–Shostakovich pairing allowed the Boston Symphony winds to take the spotlight in the first half, leaving the strings and limited percussion to their task in the second. 
****1
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Skittish Schumann and majestic Bruckner

Mariss Jansons © Stephan Rabold
Daniil Trifonov is clearly still finding his feet in Schumann's concerto but Mariss Jansons proves a sure guide through Bruckner's underrated Sixth.
****1
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“What Andris Nelsons Tells Me”: Mahler’s Third in Boston

Susan Graham, Andris Nelsons and the BSO © Winslow Townson
A superb Mahler 3 from Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony, building to an ecstatic finale. 
*****
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Marek Janowski returns to Weber’s Euryanthe

Emily Magee and Catherine Foster among the cast for Euryanthe in Dresden © Björn Kadenbach
Emily Magee was in glowingly refulgent voice as the 'damsel in distress', Euryanthe, in this concert performance of Weber's rarity. 
****1
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Textural clarity in Susanna Mälkki’s return to the New York Philharmonic

Susanna Mälkki © Simon Fowler
Baiba Skride has an incredible way of naturally engaging the listener’s emotions while transcending with ease the most challenging demands of the score.
****1
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Evil under the sun: Hymel triumphs in Cav and Pag

Simon Keenlyside (Tonio), Bryan Hymel (Canio), Carmen Giannattasio (Nedda) © ROH | Catherine Ashmore
Even stronger than first time round, Michieletto's impressive staging is complemented by an outstanding double role debut from Hymel and a heartbreaking Santuzza from Elīna Garanča.
*****
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Panoramas, Potions and Prokofiev

Leonidas Kavakos © Marco Borggreve
Under Andris Nelsons’ direction, the Boston Symphony Orchestra turn Strauss’ Alpine Symphony into a searching spiritual journey.
****1
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