60th Ohrid Summer festival opens

The 60th Ohrid Summer festival opened Tuesday in the town’s Antique Theatre with famous arias performed by Marija Jelić, Dario Di Vietri, Ivan Tomašev and Amanda Stojovic, accompanied on piano by maestro Milivoje Velić.

This evening’s concert was a tribute to opera diva Ana Lipsha-Tofovikj, who opening the inaugural Ohrid Summer back in 1961.

President and festival patron Stevo Pendarovski opened the event, congratulating on 60 years of “top class Macedonian, European and world artists who have honored us with their excellence, here in Ohrid.”

“This achievement is credited to generations of culture activists and supporters, whose efforts and commitment has been engraved in the festival’s mission,” said President Pendarovski.

He said festival’s organization amid the COVID-19 pandemic is not easy, but absolutely necessary.

“This is a festival of creative individuals who rise above destructive tendencies. Such endeavors teach of free, open, emancipated, dynamic cores that affirm the beauty of diversities. It is necessary to maintain the level and quality of Ohrid Summer,” added Pendarovski.

Outgoing Culture Minister Husni Ismaili also addressed the audience, saying the festival is older than most of the people present in the Antique Theatre.

“Ohrid Summer is no longer measured by its years but the artistic achievements it promotes every year. I am convinced that no one can dispute the festival’s prestige, an artistic emblem of North Macedonia on the global scene,” said Ismaili.

On behalf of the festival participants, musician, pianist, pedagogue and music publicist Snezhana Atanasova-Chadikovska spoke about the 60-year-old fraternity of about 50,000 musicians, actors, ballet dancers who have taken part in Ohrid Summer.

“I say fraternity, a true fraternity, because all artists have felt the specific sound and lighting of St.Sophia church, the noble and eternal spirit of the numerous Ohrid stages. Because Ohrid is the spiritual core of our country and undoubtedly one of the lighthouses of mankind,” she added.

Along with a number of local performers, some 300 music artists from 19 countries will perform at the Ohrid Summer festival between August 4-30.

The event will offer 26 classical music concerts.

Open-air performances will take place at the Ancient Theater, at Dolni Saraj, and in front of Ohrid’s St. Sophia church.

Festival-goers can expect to see Russian concert pianist Natalia Trull, Croatian-born American concert pianist Kemal Gekić, Fukio Saxophone Quartet from Spain, classical guitarist Petrit Çeku from Kosovo, Italian flutist Massimo Mercelli, the Albanian mezzo-soprano Vikena Kamenica, the Cologne String Sextet from Germany, and others.

The drama programming includes local theatre companies: Veles’s Jordan Hadzhi Konstantinov-Dzhinot National Theater, Skopje’s Drama Theater, Skopje’s Comedy Theater, Gostivar’s National Theater, Skopje’s Theater for Children and Youth, as well as the Skopje’s Turkish Theater, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The jubilee edition of the festival is taking place outside of its regular slot (12 July-20 August) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All events will be held in accordance with strict health protocols, with restricted number of seats available for all performances.

Ohrid Summer is held under the President’s auspices and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Ohrid, and numerous corporate sponsors.