Riga is the European Capital of Culture in 2014! Throughout the year it is planned to run more than 200 events in Riga
If you have never been to Rīga before, now is the time to experience the pleasure of discovering the diversity of Latvia’s capital city. After you get to know the medieval streets of the Old Town, the Art Nouveau heritage and the shabby chic of the creative quarters, let us surprise you once more – this time with the saturated content of Rīga’s cultural events calendar for the whole of 2014.
All in all, throughout the year it is planned to run more than 200 events meant especially for the Force Majeure programme in addition to Rīga’s traditional cultural calendar – festivals, rich concert life and cultural events. This publication will introduce you to the most extensive and most significant activities of the European Capital of Culture programme – and remember, whichever of them you choose to attend, be open-minded and prepared to experience the unexpected!
Top Riga 2014 events
Castle of Light – National Library of Latvia
The building of singular architectural form, which, like the snow-capped Himalayas, rises over the left (SW) bank of the Daugava river, is a hive of activity as interior fitting-out and utility works continue apace. It is the new building for the National Library of Latvia (NLL). The Rīga 2014 team hopes that it is the year in which Rīga has the honour of being the European Capital of Culture that will be the year that the Gaismas pils (Castle of Light – as the new building is popularly known) opens its doors to the public. And that is exactly why we, the Rīga 2014 team, announce that the central event of the opening of the European Capital of Culture will be a significant action of public participation – a living chain of books, where everyone can feel themselves an integral part in the transfer of books from the old library building to the new one.
From Wagner to Vasks – surprises lined up by the Latvian National Opera
Symbolically highlighting the great German composer Richard Wagner’s strong links with the Latvian capital, the LNO will stage his first opera Rienzi, written in Rīga no less, which will premiere in January 2014 as part of the opening of the European Capital of Culture Force Majeure programme. It is worth recalling that one of the most noteworthy pages of Latvian opera history relates to the time that Richard Wagner spent in Rīga, from 1837 to 1839, as the musical director of the Pilsētas (City) theatre.
While Rienzi will launch Rīga’s European Capital of Culture Year, the overall 2014 programme at the Baltais nams (LNO, popularly known as the White House) will be dominated by operas and ballets by Latvian composers. March sees the premiere of the opera Šahs (Chess) by young composer Kristaps Pētersons. As explained by the writer himself, it is dedicated to the Magician of Rīga, world chess champion Mikhail Tal. Known as the last ‘chess romantic’, the unusually gifted Mikhail Tal was one of the most original and recognisable symbols of Rīga.
The 2014 repertoire will also be given a special accent by three new one-act ballets, with the world premiere planned for April. The music of three outstanding Latvian composers – Pēteris Vasks, Rihards Dubra and Georgs Pelēcis – will become a source of inspiration for the world of dance, addressing today’s brightest choreographers.
2014 European Film Awards ceremony in Rīga
The European Film Academy announced its decision to hold the 2014 European Film Awards ceremony in Rīga. The ceremony, scheduled for 13 December 2014, will be one of the European Capital of Culture Year events and will be held at the Latvian National Opera, whose magnificent architecture and stunning interiors earned.
Source and more info about Riga 2014: www.riga2014.org