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Guide to Classical Music, Opera and Dance in Latvia

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RigaAn der schönen blauen Donau

An der schönen blauen Donau
Strauss II: An der schönen blauen Donau
Aivars Leimanis; Latvian National Ballet; Farhads Stade; Ināra Gauja; Latvian National Opera Orchestra

RigaDon JuanNew Production

Don Juan
Gluck: Don Juan
Julio Arozarena; Latvian National Ballet; Mārtiņš Ozoliņš; Marko Japelj; Alan Hranitelj; Latvian National Opera Orchestra

RigaDon Pasquale

Don Pasquale
Donizetti: Don Pasquale
Mārtiņš Ozoliņš; Latvian National Opera; Francesco Esposito; Rihards Mačanovskis; Krišjānis Norvelis

RigaAntonija #SilmačiNew Production

Antonija #Silmači
Karlsons: Antonija #Silmači
Aivars Leimanis; Latvian National Ballet; Jānis Liepiņš; Mārtiņš Ozoliņš; Mārtiņš Vilkārsis; Anna Heinrihsone
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Vestard Shimkus delivers exhilarating Dreamscapes

Vestard Shimkus © Ars Produktion
Composer-pianist, Vestards Shimkus gives a compelling rendition of his imaginative 9 etudes Dreamscapes, while his Bach-Busoni 9 Chorale Preludes offers more mixed results. 
****1
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An inspiring, faith-filled concert in Riga

Sigvards Kļava © Riga Festival
The Latvian Radio Choir, coupled with the Sinfonietta Rīga Orchestra under the conductor Sigvards Kļava give an ethereal rendition of four contemporary Latvian composers in Riga Cathedral.
****1
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Exhilarating operatic talent at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition

Georgios Alexandros Stavrakakis, Sungho Kim and Pavel Petrov © Dzintari Concert Hall Jūrmala
A wonderful showcase of operatic voices at the 37th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Latvia. 

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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Upcoming events & latest reviews of Latvian performers around the world
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StockholmBaltic Anniversary

Baltic Anniversary
Martinů, Vasks, Tüür, Bartók
Sinfonietta Rīga; Normunds Šnē; Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Marc Bouchkov

RigaAntonija #SilmačiNew Production

Antonija #Silmači
Karlsons: Antonija #Silmači
Aivars Leimanis; Latvian National Ballet; Jānis Liepiņš; Mārtiņš Ozoliņš; Mārtiņš Vilkārsis; Anna Heinrihsone

StockholmThe Eric Ericson Centenary: Baltic Choirs pay tribute to the legendary choirmaster

The Eric Ericson Centenary: Baltic Choirs pay tribute to the legendary choirmaster
Šerkšnytė, Ešenvalds, Tormis, Lidholm, Strauss R., Schoenberg
Tõnu Kaljuste; Swedish Radio Choir; Latvian Radio Choir; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Sigvards Kļava

JūrmalaKremerata Baltica

Pētersons, Liszt, Bartók
Kremerata Baltica; Juliana Avdeyev
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Jansons trumps Neuenfels' tame Pique Dame in Salzburg

Evgenia Muraveva (Lisa) and Brandon Jovanovich (Hermann) © Monika Rittershaus
Mariss Jansons and the Vienna Philharmonic do the real storytelling as Hans Neuenfels' staging underwhelms.
***11
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Nelsons sheds light on Puccini's canvas

Jonathan Tetelman and Kristine Opolais © Hilary Scott
Under Andris Nelsons' baton, the musical canvas was remarkably supple with proper light shed on Puccini’s melodic inventiveness and wondrous orchestration.
****1
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Vocal wonder: Elīna Garanča's Mahler with the Vienna Phil

Elīna Garanča © Karina Schwarz | DG
...the perpetuum mobile character building to a raucously joyous finale that elicited genuine, generous applause.
***11
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Swan cruise: Lohengrin at Covent Garden

Jennifer Davis (Elsa) and Klaus Florian Vogt (Lohengrin) © ROH | Clive Barda
David Alden’s new production for The Royal Opera, referencing fascist Germany, is drab, but there are musical compensations. 
***11
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