Culture is happening: Events around Estonia August 28-September 3

Dancers in the forthcoming National Opera and Ballet production of Anna Karenina,  Jevgeni Grib and Anna Roberta.
Dancers in the forthcoming National Opera and Ballet production of Anna Karenina, Jevgeni Grib and Anna Roberta. Source: Todd Richter/Rahvusooper

As the coronavirus restrictions continue to be lifted across Estonia, more and more cultural events are taking place. This guide gives a snapshot of some of the events over the next week.


Tallinn Music Week (TMW), August 27-30

A shortened, postponed version of the annual TMW runs August 27-30, with "city stages" at the Viru Keskus and Nordic Hotel Forum in central Tallinn, in front of Telia's headquarters in Kristiine, and at the Laagna community garden in Lasnamäe, as well as at locations in the Kalamaja and Kopli neighborhoods of North Tallinn. An art program is also being run in tandem.

TMW usually takes place in spring but was put back to the end of August as the coronavirus pandemic emerged.

The event also coincides with, Tallinn Culture night on Saturday, so there's plenty going on in the capital.

Arvo Pärt 85th birthday service, August 29

World-famous Estonia composer Arvo Pärt celebrates his 85th birthday next month, and to mark the event, a concert takes place in the Jaani kirik (St. John's Church) in Tallinn at 7 p.m. Led by internationally renowned choral conductor Edward Caswell, three of Arvo Pärt's Seven Magnificat Antiphons have been chosen to frame settings of the Magnificat by William Byrd and Heinrich Schütz, along with Videte miraculum by Thomas Tallis, Jacob Obrecht's six part Salve Regina, and Arnold Bax's Byrd-inspired piece Mater ora filium by which was inspired by the music of William Byrd.

The Voces Tallinn chamber choir and music ensemble Floridante are performing.

The service and concert is also being performed in Tartu on Friday night.

National Opera and Ballet House production of Anna Karenina, premieres September 1

The National Opera and Ballet (Rahvusooper) is premiering a new ballet by Marina Kesler on September 1, at its home in the Estonia Theater in Tallinn. Based on the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy and set to the music of Dmitry Shostakovich, the ballet follows the story of the eponymous heroine with the glamorous lifestyle obscuring an unhappy marriage, reaching a crescendo after she meets army officer Count Vronsky. The ballet was originally supposed to premiere in spring, and was yet another cultural casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Opera and Ballet site is here.


The University of Tartu Library and the University of Tartu Museum celebrate the 250th birthday of Johann Karl Simon Morgernstern, the two institutions' founder, through Friday.

Also on Friday, at 7 p.m., at the Jaani Kirik (St. John's Church), a concert marking composer Arvo Pärt's 85th birthday takes place (see above).

An online exhibition examines works by 19th-century artists in Tartu found in the art collection of the University of Tartu Library, including K. A. Senff, A. M. Hagen, W. F. Krüger, J. K. S. Morgenstern (see above), J. W. Krause, and C. E. Claus.

Tartu Art Museum also hosts a video tour of artist Flo Kasearu's personal exhibition "Endangered Species", with subtitles in both Estonian and English.

The video tour is here.

Rest of Estonia

Another annual event, Museum Night (Muuseumiöö), runs on Saturday from 6 p.m. to nationwide, with hundreds of museums, galleries and other exhibitions opening their doors for free. More information is here

Narva "Painting as an Identity" exhibition

"Painting as an Identity" opened on August 8 and runs to Sunday, August 30, at the Narva Art Residency on Joala 18, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The exhibition is the work of Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) second-year students questing after personal identity.

Loora Kaubi, Lisette Lepik, Ekke Peeter Sauter, Theresia Pürmayr, Egert Tischler, Jelizaveta Šalova, Kati Müüripeal, Vassa Ponomarjova, Ats Kruusing, Liisa-Aleksandra Volmer are the artists, supervised by Kristi Kongi and Tõnis Saadoja.

Rakvere Romantic Evenings

Romantic Evenings is an annual concert series, which started in 2012, associated with the Darkland Fire International Festival of Dark Music in Rakvere that takes place later in the year.

This year it has been awarded the highest recognition and quality label of European art festivals, the EFFE for 2019-2020.The Dark Romantic series offers everyone the chance to enjoy beautiful, often melancholic, acoustic or semi-acoustic music performed by the best musicians from around the world at the beautiful Muuga Manor in Vinni, a few kilometers southeast of Rakvere.

Each concert will feature two original bands with a full-length program.

Viljandi Dance Week

The South Estonian town of Viljandi, and the surrounding Viljandi County, hosts a week-long dance fest See here for more information (in Estonian).


Finally, unless you have been living in a sealed chamber without any windows for the past year or so, the fact that the new Christopher Nolan-directed thriller "Tenet" has finally been released will not have passed you by. "Tenet", many of whose key scenes were filmed in Tallinn and include local extras recruited for the purpose, premiered about two minutes after midnight on Wednesday/Thursday in Estonian cinemas, and is being shown in large and small theaters alike, across the country. ETV also carried this interview with some of the stars.

A brief weather outlook for the next few days is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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