Top American organist Cameron Carpenter will perform with the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni in the grand concert finale of the 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival in front of St Blaise's Church on Saturday, 25 August at 22:00. The concert will be broadcast live by Croatian Television Channel HRT1 and Croatian Radio Channel 3.
This spectacular music event will mark the end of the 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival with Rachmaninov's Paganini Variations arranged by Cameron Carpenter, who described his version of the composition as ‘Rachmaninov on steroids’. This will be followed by Symphony No. 1 Finale by Louis Vierne, French composer and principal organist at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, who died of a heart attack on 2 June 1937 during his 1750th organ recital at the Cathedral. Out of six movements of the symphony, the Finale, which was called ‘my Marseillaise’ by the author, is the best known. The concert will be concluded with Symphony No. 3 in C minor,a monumental work of French composer Camille Saint-Saëns who said, ‘I gave everything to it I was able to give. What I have here accomplished, I will never achieve again,’ after he finished it, aware that it would be his last attempt at symphonic form.
The Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest European radio orchestras: it grew out of an orchestra founded in 1929 for Radio-Zagreb, just six years after the foundation of the first European radio orchestra. It has borne its current title since 1991. Since the season 2015/2016, Enrico Dindo has held the position of the Principal Conductor. With a unique programme orientation, at the centre of which is the continuous performance and stimulation of works by Croatian authors as well as a repertoire of both standard and lesser-known works, the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra has become one of the key performing bodies in Croatia. They have regularly collaborated with the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and the last couple of seasons, and also this year, they have been granted the honour of closing the Festival.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is coming to the end of its 69th edition and for over a month a lot of interesting artists have visited Dubrovnik. One of them is Simon Mundy – a writer from Britain and Vice-President of PEN International — Writers for Peace, Bled and sometimes – a journalist! He started as a director and then moved into writing in his 20's. He spent 20 years combining being an art journalist and writing books and poetry. Then he started the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (now Culture Action Europe). He has worked a lot with UNESCO, especially with the Council of Europe on Culture and Conflict areas, particularly in the Balkans and Ukraine. Now he lives in Scotland and spends a lot of his time writing books, but he found the time to visit our beautiful city and sharing interesting details about his life and his impressions about Dubrovnik and the Festival.
You dedicated your life to art and culture?
It's the only thing I'm good at! My mother was a painter and my grandfather was a writer. I'm useless when it comes to anything else – if you ask me to administrate anything, it will be illegal in two weeks. (laughs)
That kind of life has taken you all around the world?
Yes, I suppose. My son, who works for the United Nations, and I have a joke that he’s working for all the countries that I haven’t.
Why did you come to Dubrovnik?
I’ve been an adviser to the European Festivals Association for years and I've been doing a profile on Dubrovnik for them. They wanted to talk to me about general issues. While I was there, I decided to resurrect to my old career and cover it for one of the newspapers in Britain.
How did you like your experience? What did you see, what did you do?
I went to events every night. Some good, some bad, which is normal for a festival. I didn’t do too much sightseeing because it was definitely a work trip, a very pleasant trip, but not a pleasure trip.
What did you like the most about the Dubrovnik?
I had some delicious meals which were quite excellent and it was, oddly enough, quite fun to sit in the cafe’s, just watching the hordes of tourists come by. I felt like a local, I rather sat, watching them, thinking: ‘’I’m so glad that I’m not on that cruise ship!’’
You mentioned you enjoyed the food, do you have some favourite dishes?
I always upset people in the Balkans saying that I prefer both Italian and Turkish food to Balkan food. I find food in northern Croatia and Slovenia far too heavy and Germanic and Austrian. I much prefer it down south, when you got the olive oil, better wine and good salads. Generally, the further south I go along the Adriatic, the better the food becomes. And the wine is stunning!
What was your favourite part of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival?
The highlight of my visit was the concert at the Rector’s Palace by Andreas Scholl and Ensemble 1700, where you basically had nine soloists plus Scholl, who are to an extraordinary standard. To be that close to them, in that environment with surroundings that were previous to the time of the things they were performing, was a real joy!
Andreas Scholl performing in the Rector's Palace - Photo Dubrovnik Summer Festival
Your impression of Dubrovnik Summer Festival is positive?
It’s a wonderful festival and it’s been a wonderful festival for many, many years! Like the city itself, it had some difficult moments, but I think it’s one of the ten most important festivals in Europe and I think it will continue to be that. It’s a place which has such an extraordinary history and such great venues and has absolutely no problem getting people to it. That combination is a winning formula!
How were you greeted in Dubrovnik? What do you think about the locals?
I’ve never found anything but enormous welcomes in here in many, many years I’ve been coming here. I think that perhaps there is a difference now compared to 25 years ago, even 15 years ago, when I was here before. There was a sense of 1980’s and the break-up and the war. It felt like people needed you to understand how hard things have been. Now, when Croatia is in the European Union, when everybody moves without visas, it seems that many of these issues have gone away or are much quieter than they were. I find people much more relaxed than they were.
How would you compare modern day Dubrovnik to times gone by?
I was first here with the Council of Europe in 1993 and then I was back again two or three times in the 90’s. The last time I was here was in 2003. Even then, since it was before Croatia joined European Union, things were pretty tough. But they were getting back to normal and you got the sense that countries around also were beginning to re-join the family of nations in a way. Now, Croatia has really improved.
Do you like coming back to Croatia?
I like bits of Croatia very much indeed. I like its coastline, but I’m still not a complete convert to the interior. I think everywhere, from Pula down to border is fantastic. I like Opatija, which I think is an extraordinary city, very Austro-Hungarian, Rijeka too is amazing. I’ve never been to Split, which is weird, but it’s one of the way things work out. People invite you to the places and they haven’t yet invited me there!
Do you have any future plans regarding Croatia?
We’ll see! I’ve got no long-term plans, but that’s typical when being a writer.
Is that good or bad?
It used to make the rest of my family very nervous, but it never made me nervous because things generally do happen. Sometimes they’re bad, but then something else happens – good, and things go right again.
Catching the summer sunshine in Dubrovnik - Photo Ivana Smilovic
You are quite a positive person?
At times! I can get gloomy like anybody else. I’m a poet and that’s normal for them.
Do you have to be gloomy when being a poet?
You can’t just write gloomy poetry because people would soon get bored. Some of my poems are gloomy, but you also change the way you write over the years. When you are young, you usually write either how beautiful the view is or why doesn’t that girl love me? As you get older, you tend to write about other things as well.
Do you get inspired by the places you visit?
Less and less. Now I’m mostly inspired with stories. As you get older, your poetry becomes more narrative and less personal. Personal in a different way.
Do you write everywhere you go? Did you write anything in Dubrovnik?
I don’t usually write in the places I’m visiting. I usually leave the whole thing for when I’m back home or the next place. A picture appears in my mind in a month or so later and the poem comes out. I haven’t written anything in Dubrovnik, but that’s not the end of the story!
Everything you write comes from your experiences?
No, I don’t think it does, I think it comes from your imagination and you use experiences as ammunition. You’re not necessarily drawing the material in a direct way, you are making it up all over again. I’m not one of those writers who over-research. I’m odd, I wrote poetry, novels, books on musicians, a bit of politics… You use information in different ways but most of the time you’re telling stories and most of the time you’re making them up. You are using all your material in a way that would be deeply frowned by academics and journalists.
Can you compare the job of a writer and a journalist?
Apart from the deadlines and the fact that journalists get paid slightly better… I think the real difference is that you have to check your facts in journalism and you don’t have to check facts as a fiction writer or as a poet. You are entitled to get things wrong and make them how you want them to be. I think when you’re doing a piece of journalism too, you owe it to the reader to have the same qualities as a writer and to tell the story, because it’s all storytelling, sooner or later. But you also have the different responsibility – to do it with integrity. Actually, when you’re writing a poem or a novel, your only duty is to yourself and to your vision and what that should be. That’s nobody else’s business. And the reader can then do the same, to bring their own experience and change it all over again.
So, you prefer being a writer?
Actually, I enjoy doing both. But it’s quite important not to mix the two in the same piece! If your piece of creative writing comes out as too journalistic, then actually you lose the reader very quickly. You can always see when writers over-research and they feel like you need to put every detailed that they discovered, after around 100 pages of that the reader just goes: ‘’I don’t care! I know you’re clever, I know they gave you a grant to go to that place, but I don’t need to know that.’’
One of the greatest benefits of your job is to travel around?
Well, you sort of have to. You go where people want you to go, you almost never go on holiday, you just go where the work takes you. That’s great, but it’s hopeless if you’ve got small children, relationships and all the rest of it. But if you’re a free man, then that freedom is worth having. But it does mean it leaves gaps. Because you don’t go where everybody else goes. Everybody else has been to Canary Islands for their holidays, but I’ve never been there.
Do you think that people understand that you are actually working?
No, they don’t actually. In London I’m a member of the Chelsea Arts Club which was founded 120 years ago who got sick of the fact that everybody in the local pubs asked what artists did in the day time. It hasn’t changed! As a writer, they think you’re on permanent holiday and they don’t get the fact that you turn out your 700 words a day, whatever happens. There’s always been a tension between people who move and people who don’t. Most people want security and they want that security in something that they think they can understand, like a place they call home, that they own. Not just in the terms of a house, but in terms of its culture. Then there are those of us who don’t think like that, who move and think it’s a round world and we should keep going around it. I see countries as just places, some nicer than others, some with better food, some are hotter, some are colder. They are places, they are all different, but they all got the same characteristics as well: how did they start, why are they here, why are the way they are…
You have a lot of experience, do you think that Dubrovnik is on the right path?
I think it has to even things out. Everything is always in transition and will change again in 15 years, but I think there are two things that it needs to decide: one is whether it just wants to be a mass tourist destination and if not how it’s going to get out of that. The second thing is whether it wants to be a little bit different from the places up and down the coast and even in Dalmatia. What’s its relationship with other cities? Does it want to be something like it used to be? I think the sense of Dubrovnik as a city-state has never quite gone away, I don’t think that people here see themselves like ‘’normal’’ Croatians.
I think that Dubrovnik should start thinking: ‘’Ok, how do we get in the 21st century?’’
Should we aim to show Dubrovnik as a unique destination?
Yes, not to the extent ‘’let’s have Republic again’’, because the last thing this region need is to split even more. But I don’t think there’s any harm at all in Dubrovnik and other places along the coast just reaffirming to the modern world that they’re not just provinces of modern nation states and that they do have a history which is different, interesting and is worth developing. I think that Dubrovnik should start thinking: ‘’Ok, how do we get in the 21st century?’’, being interesting and free and humane and a refuge and an intellectual hub and not provincial city of the modern state. That’s what I think Dubrovnik needs to do. I don’t think it’s there yet… I think it needs to get its self-confidence back, by that I don’t mean its self-confidence in terms of the infrastructure, you’ve done that and it’s very good, I mean its intellectual self-confidence.
Matches of the Croatian national football team will no longer be on the national TV station HRT after they lost the financial battle with the commercial TV station Nova TV.
Nova TV now has the rights to broadcast al games involving the Croatian national team for the next four years in all tournaments. This will mean that they will have the rights to show the European Qualifiers to Euro 2020, European Qualifiers to World Cup 2022, Euro 2020 football matches, as well as those of the Nations League.
“Nova TV has the most viewed programme in the country, which will from now on be even richer. Our viewers will be able to enjoy all football matches involving the national team for the next four years, and our sport newsroom’s team will provide them unique, dynamic and attractive content. With these novelties in our programme, Nova TV will additionally strengthen its position as Croatia’s strongest multimedia platform”, commented Dražen Mavrić, Nova TV’s CEO.
Have you noticed that posts are being deleted from your page or personal Facebook account today? Thousands of users have complained that posts have disappeared and it seems that Facebook is deleting them.
According to the website Down Detector which published up-to-the-minute information on problems with Facebook the problem is affecting the whole of Europe and started at around 9.00 am this morning.
It would appear from information that the posts being deleted are completely random. One Facebook user in Norway reported that all posts about cows have been taken down, whilst another in the UK commented that posts with celebrities had been deleted.
So far there is no news from Facebook as to the problem or when it will be fixed and users are being forced to check to see if their posts are actually remaining online.
At The Dubrovnik Times we have contacted Facebook but have still to receive a response. And in the way of an experiment we published an article on Facebook and paid for advertising. This post was deleted after a few minutes, even though we had in the meantime received an email from Facebook that the advertising had been approved and “and should begin delivering shortly.”
As we have had no response from Facebook, as is often the case, we, like millions of others will have to be patient.
EARTH, SEA & FIRE is the name of the brand new triathlon event in Dubrovnik, scheduled for October 13th 2018. It offers two distances for both individual athletes and relay teams: Olympic triathlon includes 1,5km two-laps swim, 40km four-laps bike and 10km four-laps run combo, while Sprint Triathlon challenge includes 0,75km one-lap swim, 20km two-laps bike and 5km two-laps run.
- Calm sea, super-fast and flat bike and run routes make a perfect arena for experienced triathletes chasing standard-distance PB or aiming to break other records. First timers will have the chance for an authentic and fiery triathlon initiation, racing side by side with the best triathletes. If you’re looking for an event to start your triathlon career, along with a great venue, perfect climate and friendly atmosphere, EARTH, SEA & FIRE is the right choice! – the organizers wrote.
Already well-positioned as an attractive destination for active holidays, Dubrovnik is a city that shares so much with the spirit of triathlon: steadfastness, relentless passion, ability to cope with downfalls and to rise again no matter what, over and over again. Naturally, all the participants will be able to enjoy all the beauties the southernmost Croatian city has to offer, including its ancient Old Town, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. The spectacular historic architecture and atmosphere of Dubrovnik will become a perfect background for the celebration of the inaugural EARTH, SEA & FIRE triathlon.
-Whether you're a newbie or Ironman finisher, we invite you to #IGNITEYOUR INNER FIRE in Dubrovnik! – it's written by the organizers of the event.
Registrations and all necessary info are available at the official website.
TV legend Oprah Winfrey waved goodbye to Dubrovnik last night and made her way to the Montenegrin city of Kotor on-board a luxury yacht but not without leaving behind fond memories.
Winfrey spent a few days in the Adriatic Sea around Dubrovnik, visiting nearby islands and hanging out with friends. She is staying on the elegant yacht owned by Italian businessman Giancarlo Giammetti, who is also the lifetime partner of fashion mogul Valentino Garavani.
Oprah spent her last day in Dubrovnik sightseeing in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik and visited churches and landmarks.
“She was such a nice lady, we spent a few minutes talking and she was so open and so friendly,” commented a leading guide in Dubrovnik, Femica Bambini, to The Dubrovnik Times. “When I asked if we could take some photos she was so accommodating and warm, just a really nice lady,” concluded Bambini.
Winfrey (64) has continued her Adriatic cruise to Montenegro after leaving Dubrovnik late last night.
Oprah Winfrey loving life in Dubrovnik - Photos by Femica Bambini
The warmer weather, and warmer seas, has even had the dolphins jumping for joy. This amazing video of two dolphins playing in the Adriatic Sea was uploaded onto the Instagram account of Anja Toplek after she spotted them off the island of Cres.
Cres is one of the northern islands in the Kvarner Gulf and can be reached via ferry from Rijeka, the island Krk or from the Istrian peninsula.
This is why everyone loves dolphins. These glorious creatures bring a smile to everyone’s’ face and to see them enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Croatian Adriatic is even more pleasurable. Go sailing in the Adriatic, you never know what delight from nature you’ll spot.
Check out this stunning video
Croatia’s unemployment levels have reached record lows. In July the rate of unemployment in the country fell again and the current level is an all-time low of 8.6 percent. In July, according to data from the State Statistics Bureau, there were 1.45 million people in employment which is 16,400 more than in June.
In fact, June this year saw the unemployment rate reach a record low of 8.8 percent only to be beaten the next month and now stands at 8.6 percent.
The latest drop in unemployment, with a total of more than 136,000 people out of work, represents a month-on-month drop of 1.6 percent, and a year-on-year drop of 19.9 percent.
There are a few major factors that have contributed to this recent fall. Firstly, the boom in the tourism industry has seen many Croatians for the continental regions migrate to the coastline to find employment. It is also important to mention that hundreds of thousands of people have left the country in search of better economic futures in other European Union members, such as Germany, Sweden and France.
The August heat wave doesn’t look like coming to an end any time soon. So far there hasn’t been a day in Dubrovnik in August that have seen temperatures drop below thirty degrees and the warm spell is predicted to continue until the end of the month.
Yesterday the city was its normal summer vibrant self.
Check out our photo gallery from the city
Oprah Winfrey enjoyed a stroll around the historic Old City of Dubrovnik this afternoon soaking up the sights and chatting with friends. The TV legend arrived in Dubrovnik on a luxury yacht two days ago and has enjoying the Adriatic sunshine on-board the yacht of Italian businessman Giancarlo Giammetti, who is also the lifetime partner of fashion mogul Valentino Garavani.
Oprah takes a stroll in Dubrovnik - Photo Instagram @urbantheoryinteriordesign
Winfey (64) was spotted walking along the main street through the ancient city this afternoon before boarding a waiting speedboat to whisk her back to the yacht. The iconic fashion designer, Diane Von Fürstenberg (71) who was celebrated in the 70s with the so-called wrap dress, was also in the group and along with Oprah Winfrey waved at the small crowd that collected in the Old City harbour.
“She was smiling and seemed very happy and waved at the people but not with her hand but with her dog’s paw which was a really cute touch,” an eye-witness told The Dubrovnik Times.
Oprah Winfrey waves goodbye to Dubrovnik - Photos Ivana Smilovic ©The Dubrovnik Times