Riga Historical Music and Dance Festival 2022 – Handel, Bach and premieres

LATVIA – «The Little Guild» (25/11/2022 – 14/12/2022)

From 25 November to 14 December, the Little Guild will host the Rīga Festival of Historical Music and Dance, with premieres of 18th century Latvian music, a concert by five European schools of music to music by opera composer Handel, and the much-anticipated opening of a music album by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Riga Historical Music and Dance Festival 2022 - Handel, Bach and premieres
Darius Stabinskas & Alina Rotaru. Photo by Ginta Garūta

The Riga Historical Music and Dance Festival is a particularly welcome event, to which audiences and listeners alike as well as the musicians and performers themselves are eager to return in order to restore harmony, gain strength, put themselves for a moment in the shoes of the highly educated and sensitive courtiers of the Baroque era, and – most importantly – to see things from a fresh and historically grounded perspective.

All festival concerts are performed exclusively on originals or replicas of historic musical instruments, and the voices of the singers master the ornaments and rhetorical subtleties of the Baroque period, completely obliterating the myths of early music as something old-fashioned.

On November 25 at 18:00 the concert «Hendelis. Pasticio».
Following an intensive week of rehearsals and master classes, the concert will feature opera arias and ensembles by George Frideric Handel from the operas «Alcina», «Rinaldo», «Julius Caesar in Egypt», «Ariodante», «Orlando», «Tamerlane», «Rodelinda», «Xerxes» and others that allow us to experience the plot, traditional for baroque opera, based on the play of human feelings and passions – love, betrayal, revenge, sorrow, suffering, happiness and joy. The production will be staged by the JVLMA Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Mars Kupčas, and students from five European music academies – Lodz, Oslo, Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius.

The concert «New Treasures of Kurzeme» will be held at the RCTMC «the Little Guild» at 19:00 on 30 November. Francis Adams Feuchtner, concertmaster of Duke Peter’s Court Chapel, composer and virtuoso violinist, is an important figure in the history of the Livonian province of the Russian Empire in the 18th century (Latvia today).

The conductor and early music researcher Maris Kupčs has retrieved the collections of four symphonic movements published by Feuchtner in 1770 in Mitava, or Jelgava today, and together with the Collegium Musicum Riga Baroque Orchestra will offer the audience an opportunity to enjoy the newly discovered treasures of Kurzeme.

The concert will also feature other premieres – Feichtner’s vocal and instrumental works «Herr Gott Dich loben wir» and «Hymmne an der Gott», with the brilliant soprano Monta Martinsson performing the solo part.

On 14 December at 19:00, the RCTMC «the Little Guild» will host a concert-presentation of a CD by Johann Sebastian Bach. Amazing virtuosity, sparkling ensemble, stable and flexible interaction.

These are just a few of the epithets that foreign critics have already attributed to the recently released and long-awaited Bach CD. It was recorded under the auspices of the prestigious Brilliant Classics publishing house in summer 2020 in Riga by the internationally renowned Dutch flutist Erik Bosgraafs and the Collegium Musicum Riga baroque orchestra, conducted by conductor Mars Kupčas and sound mastered by Dirks Fischer from Germany.

At the album presentation concert, the audience will be able to enjoy the virtuoso flute and orchestra concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach on the CD, as well as works by other baroque composers, reflecting the fruits of the collaboration between Erik Bosgrafs and Collegium Musicum Riga, which has been established for more than five years.

Tickets to the concerts are available on the «Biļešu Paradīze» network.

The festival is organised by SIA «Rīgas Senās mūzikas centrs» with the support of the State Cultural Capital Fund, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Radošā Eiropa, EEEMERGING+ (Emerging European Ensembles), Riga Historical Theatre and Music Society, the Jāzeps Vitolas Latvian Academy of Music. Jāzeps Vītolas, RKTMC the Little Guild, Bauska Castle.

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