Over 4,200 people attended August's Birgitta Festival

Elmo Nüganen's production of Mozart's opera
Elmo Nüganen's production of Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni" at this year's Birgitta Festival. Source: Tallinn City Government

Last week's Birgitta Festival, back on the calendar after a two-year absence, attracted a total of 4,244 music lovers to the ruins of the Pirita Convent in Tallinn.

Organized by the Tallinn Philharmonic, the event, which ran from August 6-14, focused on the creation of a Finnish-Estonian musical bridge , while Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kaarel Oja (SDE) said its highlights included the world premiere ofnew work "Lalli", by Estonian composers by Veljo Tormis and Rasmus Puur.

Oja said: "New operas rarely come to the stage in our musical theatre. The resounding success of 'Lalli' made this  even more significant, as it fits perfectly into our being a UNESCO City of Music and confirms the importance of the festival.

"On the whole, the festival was a success not only because it returned after a few years' absence, but also because it re-established itself in the process, meeting the expectations of a thoroughly contemporary musical theatre festival, though in the traditional venue of the picturesque Pirita Convent, with its unique atmosphere."

Elmo Nüganen's production of Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni", at the Vanemuine Opera Theatre (pictured), Kristjan Järvi and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic's vision of Shakespeare's play "Tempest", and Kimmo Pohjonen (Finland) and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra's concert "Uniko" joined "Lalli" as the main offerings.

Lennart Sundja, Director of the Tallinn Philharmonic, also highlighted the festival's commitment to sustainability, noting that material used for the stage decorations in "Lalli" will be recycled in Henrik Ibsen's play "Master Solness", soon to be staged at the Estonian Drama Theatre in the city center, while costumes and some of the set design will be retained, pending negotiations underway to stage the opera in Finland, Sundja said.

The festival was the brainchild of famous Estonian conductor Eri Klas (X) and began in 2006. The festival was absent from the calendar in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Another noted Estonian conductor, Tõnu Kaljuste  of the Tallinn Philharmonic, headed up this year's event, with its focus was on creating a musical bridge between Estonian-Finnish musicians and compositions.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Tallinn City Government

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