Riga Jurmala Music Festival announced today that the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, led by Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons, will make its debut in Riga during the weekend 3 to 5 September 2021. They will offer two concerts of all-Wagner programs at the Latvian National Opera, including Act 1 of Die Walküre with soprano Christine Goerke, tenor Klaus Florian Vogt and bass Günther Groissböck. To complete this closing weekend of the Festival’s 2021 season, piano legend Maria João Pires will perform a solo recital.
On 3 September and 4 September, the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and the outstanding Latvian-born conductor Andris Nelsons will present two performances of Richard Wagner’s music during the closing weekend of this summer’s Riga Jurmala Music Festival. The Saturday evening concert will feature Act 1 of Die Walküre, interpreted by soprano Christine Goerke, who recently sang Brünnhilde in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring Cycle, and tenor Klaus Florian Vogt and bass Günther Groissböck, both of whom are regulars of the Bayreuth Festival. Goerke and Vogt will also participate in the Friday evening concert of overtures, preludes and scenes from Lohengrin, Parsifal and Der Ring des Nibelungen. These performances will mark the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra’s debut in Riga, an ensemble originally created by Richard Wagner that is for the first time visiting a city in which Wagner spent two years of his young adult life, working as a conductor at the Riga German Theatre and composing a substantial part of his early opera Rienzi.
Conductor Andris Nelsons said: “I am greatly looking forward to returning to Riga for my first performance at the Riga Jurmala Music Festival. Performing together with the wonderful Bayreuth Festival Orchestra in this city is especially meaningful to me, not only because it is my hometown, and because Wagner’s music is extremely close to my heart, but also because of the special connection between Wagner and Riga. I am so honored and excited to celebrate this joint history together with the musicians of this orchestra that all share an extraordinary dedication, passion and understanding of Wagner’s works, and we look forward to sharing our love for this music with our audiences.”
Katharine Wagner, director of the Bayreuth Festival and great-granddaughter of Richard Wagner, said: “I am delighted that Andris Nelsons will be giving concerts with our Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and three of our Festival soloists in his native Riga. For me, Andris is an exceptional artist, both for his love of Wagner’s works and for his focus on obtaining the finest musical quality. I wish the audience two successful and inspiring performances which, especially in these very unpredictable times, will once again make it clear how essential music is for all of us.”
Martin T:son Engstroem, Artistic Director of the Riga Jurmala Music Festival, said: “Andris Nelsons is the epitome of Latvia’s musical heritage. Despite being a nation of less than 2 million people, Latvia has always produced some of the world’s greatest classical musicians, and we’re thrilled Nelsons will be joining us at the Festival for the first time. The fact that the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra is also making its debut in Riga, a city that played an important role in Wagner’s early life, make these performances particularly historic.”
Another highlight of this closing weekend is a Schubert, Debussy and Beethoven recital by the esteemed pianist Maria João Pires on 5 September. Universally acknowledged as one of the great musicians of our era, Pires divides her time between concertizing and developing educational initiatives in her native Portugal and in Belgium.
The Riga Jurmala Music Festival is committed to mentoring and supporting artists in the early stages of their careers and showcasing up-and-coming talents alongside established performers. This additional weekend continues that commitment with recitals by 22-year-old pianist Mao Fujita, who will play two lunchtime concerts, the second jointly with the Belgian violinist of Russian heritage Marc Bouchkov. Both artists were recipients in their disciplines of the Second Prize and the Silver Medal at the 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition.
Public tickets sales to 3–5 September concerts will begin on 1 March, 2021.