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2024 CĒSIS ART FESTIVAL PROGRAMME. 13 July – 24 August 2024

Updated: Jun 18




13 July – 24 August

Cēsis Centre for Contemporary Art

A WORLD OF ONE’S OWN. A contemporary art exhibition from the collection of a non-existent museum 

Participating artists: Miks Mitrēvics, Krišs Salmanis, Raitis Šmits, Rasa Šmite, Linda Vēbere, Mārtiņš Ratniks, Braco Dimitrijević, Ojārs Pētersons, Armands Zelčs

Curator: Astrīda Rogule



13 July – 19 August

Cēsis Exhibition Hall


Curators: SEB Bank


The SEB Scholarship in Painting has fostered the creative and professional growth of many young talented artists. The exhibition takes a closer look at these stories, examining the unique individual journeys of the recipients toward artistic heights and their creative achievements. The works shown at the exhibition reflect the idea of growth and development in art, focusing on processes, transformations and development stages. Participating artists: Neonilla Medvedeva, Atis Jākobsons, Zane Tuča, Elza Sīle, Laimdota Steķe, Klāvs Loris, Madara Neikena, Zīle Ziemele, Sandra Strēle, Kristaps Priede, Anna Pommere, Krišjānis Elviks, Madara Kvēpa, Alise Builevica and Katrīna Biksone.


Saturday, 13 July 2024

Festival opening at the Cēsis Centre for Contemporary Art

Matīss Žilinskis Jazz Trio


Saturday, 20 July 2024 at 19:00

Cēsis St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Vox Clara, a concert

Guntars Prānis and the Schola Cantorum Riga ensemble of early music


The VOX CLARA programme is dedicated to medieval music – the Gregorian chant and examples of later repertoires showcasing the performance practice in various European cities during the late Middle Ages. The sacred music of the time was still dominated by the Gregorian chant, although various paraliturgical and secular musical forms existed alongside it where a major role was played by improvisation and local musical traditions. All of these genres were constantly interacting. The notion that only whatever was set down in the musical manuscripts was performed in the Middle Ages is nothing but a myth: the musical notation was often intended as a memory aid only; in practice, a significant role was played by improvisation. Extensive modern research and the practice of historically informed performance have demonstrated that it was frequently the elements that could not be recorded in writing that imparted profound meaning, expression and subtlety to the music. It was only through this approach that the medieval man ended up with a musical language that mattered to him and helped him live.

While the programme will feature music originating from various European cities, the main focus will be on the Northern European musical traditions of Hamburg, Riga and Lund, as well as the abundant legacy of the early polyphony of Limoges. Each of these cities had its own vivid approach to cultural expression; musical manuscripts hailing from these places likewise reveal strikingly different features. The contrasts allow us to discern and experience a reflection of the rich and diverse musical life in the late medieval Europe.

Specific musical expression could differ widely in different European cities. Similarly to traditional music, the same medieval sacred chant sounded differently in each location. It was coloured by the local musical tastes, tradition, available musical instruments, archaic polyphonic practices and the local vernacular that makes increasingly frequent appearances alongside Latin in sacred and secular music alike. The interpretation presented in the programme features hurdy-gurdy, an instrument documented as used in Latvian traditional music, some early Latvian language, as well as elements of traditional singing.

For over two decades the Schola Cantorum Riga ensemble has been actively performing the Gregorian chant and other early music repertoire, basing their interpretation on their studies of neume – the ancient musical notation – manuscripts. Over time, Schola Cantorum Riga has developed an extensive and diverse repertoire. The ensemble sees their mission in performing early music on a high artistic and professional level, and it is reflected in their numerous concert appearances in Latvia and abroad, as well as their regularly released recordings. While Schola Cantorum Riga mostly performs medieval music, the ensemble occasionally interpret musical pieces by contemporary composers (Rihards Dubra, Henning Sommerro, Nic Gotham, Renāte Stivriņa, et al), frequently written for them specifically.

The most significant venues played at by the ensemble include the Riga Cathedral (“Dome Cathedral’), where countless concert projects featuring early music and first performances of pieces by contemporary composers have been presented. The ensemble regularly appears in concerts and early music festivals in Latvia and abroad; the musicians have had the undivided attention of listeners in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and elsewhere.

The ensemble was nominated for the 2016 Grand Music Award in the Outstanding Contribution category.


Saturday, 27 July 2024 at 19:00

Sunday, 28 July 2024 at 18:00 (additional show)

Cēsis Concert Hall


Libretto by Horacio Ferrer




Duende (narrator) – DANIEL BONILLA-TORRES

Instrumental ensemble under the violinist DANIIL BULAYEV:


ARTŪRS NOVIKS – bandoneon, accordion



MIKS AKOTS – guitar

The string section of the Davinspiro Camerata Chamber Orchestra


The only opera by the king of Argentine tango Ástor Piazzolla – or, as he called it himself, ‘tango operita’ – was written in the mid-1960s to the lyrics by the great poet Horacio Ferrer. With its passionately poignant music, lively rhythms and sensuous and charming Southern melodies, this masterpiece of the musical theatre rapidly won global popularity that is still on the increase. It has been staged and is still performed by prominent singers, actors and tango aficionados all over the world. The lead performer of our production, the Chilean-born Luciana Mancini, is among them: she has sung the title role on the stages of numerous European and Latin American concert halls. Let us surrender ourselves to the appeal of the music and the story, the passionate and captivating world of tango.


Saturday, 3 August 2024 at 16:00

Cēsis Concert Hall


An opera concert performance



Brünnhilde – TRINE MØLLER 

Hagen – AIN ANGER               

Gunther – BOGDAN BACIU      


Waltraute – ZANDA ŠVĒDE


First Norn – IRMA PAVĀRE

Second Norn – AIRA RŪRĀNE

Third Norn – LIENE KINČA

Woglinde – LIENE KINČA

Wellgunde – AIRA RŪRĀNE

Flosshilde – IRMA PAVĀRE






This year sees Cēsis Art Festival and Cēsis Concert Hall continue their joint project of the ‘Cēsis Wagneriana’, an established tradition by now, with a concert performance of ‘Götterdämmerung’ or ‘Twilight of the Gods’, the concluding part of Richard Wagner’s long-cherished opera tetralogy ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’, featuring a cast of brilliant international and Latvian opera soloists and the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra under the passionate Finnish conductor Tarmo Peltokoski, who has taken the international musical scene by storm and is, among other things, a great aficionado of Wagner’s music.


Unaware of Hagen’s deceit, Siegfried has tasted the potion of forgetfulness, and thus the past is erased from his memory, along with his feelings for Brünnhilde – the love he swore to his beloved. Under this spell of forgetfulness, Siegfried falls in passionate love with Gutrune, the beautiful sister of the young King Gunther, and is prepared to bring Brünnhilde, asleep on a mountain encircled by fire, to the King for a hasty wedding. Bitter and hurt, Brünnhilde reveals Siegfried’s secret to Hagen, son of Nibelung, and he lethally stabs the hero in the back with his sword. And yet Brünnhilde understands that the cause of these tragic events is the curse put on the Ring a long time ago. Forces of evil and deceit can only be defeated through death; the Ring must be given back to the Rhinemaidens who live deep in the river, and then long-awaited peace will finally descend on the world.


The concert performance will star some of the world’s leading opera singers at the prime of their career: Michael Weinius, who was an excellent Siegmund in the 2019 rendering of ‘Die Walküre’ and exceptionally convincing in the title role of last year’s production of ‘Siegfried’ in Cēsis, returns as Siegfried, while the Danish soprano Trine Møller, who regularly stars in productions of Wagner’s operas since 2022 and was named Singer of the Year for her role debut as Brünnhilde in ‘Die Walküre’ at the Copenhagen Royal Opera, will revisit the role in Cēsis. The role of Hagen, son of the Nibelung Alberich, will be performed by the bass Ain Anger (Estonia), one of the most sought-after interpreters of Wagner’s roles; meanwhile, the Romanian baritone Bogdan Baciu, who sings in some of the top European opera houses and gave a concert in Latvia last year, will appear as Gunther. Some of the best Latvian opera singers will join the ensemble: the soprano Liene Kinča will appear as Gutrune, Third Norn and as Woglinde the Rhinemaiden, and the mezzo soprano Zanda Švēde – as the Valkyrie Waltraute; the baritone Armands Siliņš will take on the role of the Nibelung Alberich; the mezzo soprano Irma Pavāre will be First Norn and Flosshilde the Rhinemaiden, with the soprano Aira Rūrāne performing the roles of Second Norn and Wellgunde the Rhinemaiden.



Duration of the Event: three parts, two intermissions






Friday, 9 August 2024 at 19:00

Cēsis Concert Hall

CĒSIS Theatre Grand Prix / STUPID LIFE

A freak cabaret

When we are dead, we are not aware of our death – it's painful only for others. The same can be claimed if you are stupid – it only causes pain to those around you.

The meeting of two iconic cabaret groups – Ukrainian Dakh Daughters and British The Tiger Lillies – with the talented actresses of the Dailes Theatre in the musical performance Stupid Life. At a time when humanity is shaken by evil, it's cowardly to look away from the uncomfortable and hurtful. It's necessary to the very core of the bone to laugh at the stupid life – especially in a black and radically honest manner. In a visually suggestive stand-up show format, in three different languages – Latvian, Ukrainian and English – the artists will search for answers to the questions of freedom and democracy, stirring up the air on the stage with heretical humour and deadly irony.

Dakh Daughters is an internationally acclaimed Ukrainian freak-cabaret founded in 2012 in Kyiv. Since Russia's full-scale invasion in Ukraine in 2022, the troupe has chosen France as its home-base, performing concerts in Europe and many other regions. Fusing post-folk, dusty variety, sometimes even five languages and Shakespearean sonnets, Dakh Daughters is perhaps the most visible phenomenon of Ukrainian music and performing arts. Its core members consist of five musicians who also participate in DakhaBrakha.

The artistic director of the Dakh Daughters is Ukrainian theatre director, professor and playwright Vlad Troitskyi, who in 1994 founded the first independent theatre company in his native country – the Center of Contemporary Art Dakh Theatre – and GogolFest, the largest multidisciplinary festival of contemporary art in Ukraine. Both of them have become the most recognizable creative centres of theatre, music and contemporary art in Ukraine.

British music trio The Tiger Lillies have been at the vanguard of the scene for over 30 years with their darkly grotesque, nihilistically snarky and punk stage personas and witty songs. Their aesthetics are inspired by almost everything – both Kurt Weill and the French chanson, as well as miming and a London prostitute named Lily, who wore costumes with animal prints. It is the bubbling Berlin of the Weimar era a hundred years ago, which now chants in English.

Director, dramaturg – Vlad Troitskyi

Set designer, stage manager – Anton Ocheretianyi

Lighting artist – Astkhik Hryhorian

Video, subtitles – Mariia YakovenkoSound engineer – Simon Auffret

Performers: Solomiia Melnyk, Ruslana Khazipova, Anna Nikitina, Natalia Halanevych, Natacha Charpe (Dakh Daughters); Tetiana Troitska (CCA Dakh); Martyn Jacques, Adrian Stout, Budi Butenop (The Tiger Lillies); Ērika Eglija-Grāvele, Ilze Ķuzule-Skrastiņa, Ieva Segliņa (Dailes Theatre).

Curator – Andrii PalatnyiArtistic manager of Dakh Daughters – Iryna GorbanManager of GOGOLFEST– Anna BasovaManagers of The Tiger Lillies – Martyna Lach, Tim WhiteheadCoordinator – Viktoriia FedorivProducers – Festival of Contemporary Arts GOGOLFEST (Ukraine), Dailes Theatre (Latvia) 

Saturday, 17 August 2024 at 19:00

Cēsis Concert Hall

CĒSIS Theatre Grand Prix/ THE DESK

Finnish physical theatre show. Wordless

Director: Kauri Honkakoski

On stage: Karina Degaspari (BR) / Julia Johansson (FI), Josefin Karlsson (SE), Sonja Järvisalo (FI) / Charlott Lihnell (SE), Liv Nordgren (SE), Freia Stenbäck (FI), Kauri Honkakoski (FI)

Lighting Design: Sisu Nojonen

Sound Design: Tuuli Kyttälä

Videos: Jonathan Rankle

Director Kauri Honkakoski mines their personal lived experience of a cult in this meticulous ensemble piece about the seductive power of discipline, hierarchy, mind control and the search for an ultimate Truth. The show focuses on five students at five desks, and one teacher who presides over them, to look at universal mechanisms used to indoctrinate, dominate and subdue.

Praised by audiences and critics alike for their mastery of physical expression, the Finnish company exposes the universal mechanics of power in political and spiritual cults. Expect sharp, strong and poignant ensemble work.

Kauri Honkakoski spent several years in a cult whilst living in the UK, attracted by a charismatic leader who promised a better version of the world and of themself. Afterwards, upon realising that what they had experienced was a cult, their research into the topic revealed common methods of asserting and maintaining control which are present regardless of the cult’s underpinning ideals.

 “As is probably quite usual, I didn't realise it was a cult at the time. Only looking back I slowly started to make sense of my experiencing and witnessing years of fear, manipulation, intimidation, gaslighting, abuse of power, sexual harassment, thought policing, etc and it all started to sink in. As I started to research spiritual and political cults for the show, I was fascinated to find the exact same mechanics everywhere. The same power dynamics, group behaviours and hierarchies. Different words perhaps, different truths, different gods, but somehow the exact same systems. Different in the extent of terror and destruction but all coming from the same root.” - Director Kauri Honkakoski.

Kauri Honkakoski has specialised in the art of Corporeal Mime, having trained for seven years at Theatre de L’Ange Fou’s School and Company in London.

Corporeal Mime can be seen as one of the trendsetters of physical theatre in Europe. It is a poetic form of physical theatre and an acting technique for physical actors. At the heart of Corporeal Mime is the idea of expressing the whole spectrum of humanity through the body, from concrete physical work to the abstract realm of thought and dreams.

Duration: 60 minutes

Language: wordless

Premiered in 2017 at Koko Teatteri, Helsinki, Finland


Saturday, 24 August 2024 at 19:00

Cēsis Concert Hall

CĒSIS Theatre Grand Prix / EURYDICE


Saturday, 31 August 2024 at 19:00

Cēsis Concert Hall

CĒSIS Theatre Grand Prix / VALMIERA BOYS





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