On Saturday, Aug. 10, more than 1,100 festivalgoers filled Tallinn's Pirita Convent for this year's Ballet Gala. Birgitta Festival's gala performance, under the artistic direction of Toomas Edur, brought world-class ballet dancers to the stage from Germany, Finland, Estonia, Russia and Sweden — all places that played a pivotal role on the creative journey of Estonian ballet conductor Eri Klas.
Ballet was maestro Eri Klas' passion.
"He could truly sense in his work what the dancers needed," Edur described. "The Ballet Gala brought together dancers from those theaters where Eri Klas worked as a ballet director during his career."
Performers at Saturday's gala included Anna Laudere and Edvin Revazov of the Hamburg Ballet, Rebecca King and Ben Kuefler of the Finnish National Ballet, Alena Shkatula, Andrea Fabbri and Jevgeni Grib of the Estonian National Ballet, Natalya Ogneva and Artem Khoroshilov of the Moscow Classical Ballet Theatre, and Haruka Sassa and Dawid Kupinski of the Royal Swedish Ballet.
This year's Ballet Gala delighted the audience with classical and modern ballet alike by Youri Vámos, Alexander Ekman and the great John Neumeier. Music was provided by Moscow's Orchestra of the Novaya Opera Theatre under the direction of Jan-Latham Koenig.
This year, the 15th Birgitta Festival celebrated the 80th anniversary of the birth of conductor Eri Klas, the original author of the idea for the festival. Klas died in 2016 at age 76.
Editor: Aili Vahtla