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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » March 5, 2008
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Warsaw Hosts the 12th Beethoven Easter Festival
March 5, 2008    wersja polska »
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Beethoven and His Vienna is the leading theme of the 12th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival, an event of high esteem in Europe. This year's festival will take place in Warsaw from March 6 until Easter, with the city's main cultural venues resounding with music like Fidelio and the world-famous Ninth Symphony.

The festival was held for the first time in 1997 as part of the Cracow 2000 European City of Culture program, marking the 170th anniversary of Beethoven's death. The event was initiated by Elżbieta Penderecka, the wife of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. The festival instantly became a major event in European culture. Its importance was recognized by the European Festival Association, which accepted it as a member in 2001. After seven years in Cracow, the Beethoven Easter Festival moved to Warsaw in 2004, becoming an important event on the capital's cultural agenda.
The festival program is always arranged to show works by Beethoven in different aspects and from different angles. His compositions are performed alongside works by his contemporaries and then contrasted with music written by Romantic and 20th-century composers. Every Beethoven Easter Festival has a leading theme that links all the artistic events. Last year it was the composer's relationship with literature. This year, the leading theme is Vienna.

The main events of the 12th Beethoven Easter Festival will take place at the National Philharmonic, the Wielki Theater and Fabryka Trzciny club/art center, all in Warsaw. A number of accompanying events will be held in other cities, including Białystok, ŁódĽ, Gdańsk and Cracow. As usual, the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow will show an exhibition of valuable manuscripts by Beethoven.

This year's festival encompasses several dozen concerts. Some of the most notable ones are symphony concerts featuring compositions by Beethoven, Kokkonen and Sibelius, performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, as well as concerts by the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

The festival will also feature open master classes conducted by singer Christa Ludwig. The classes in opera, songs and oratorio music will be held March 17-20 at the Józef Elsner Concert Hall on Krakowskie Przedmie¶cie Street in Warsaw. Apart from classical music, the festival program includes jazz concerts and a special concert of Arabic music entitled Soul of the East: West Meets East, featuring the Al-Oyoun Group with Naseer Shamma on the lute.

12th Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival. March 9-22
For concerts this week, see listings

Tickets: www.ticketonline.pl, tel. 0-22 567 22 00;
National Philharmonic, 10 Sienkiewicza St., ticket office open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 3 p.m.-7 p.m.; Wielki Theater-National Opera, 1 Teatralny Sq., ticket office open Mon.-Sat. 9 p.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
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