Friday, 22 February 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, met with members of the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade yesterday. Members of the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade and the Dubrovnik – Neretva County Office met with the President as she visited the city for the celebrations of St. Blaise.

The firefighters Dubrovnik welcomed the President in front of the church of St. Blaise and the meeting were held in the city hall.

2018 was an extremely busy year for the firefighters in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County and the President thanked them for their courage, dedication and hard work. The biggest fire of last year happened on the Peljesac Peninsular around the town of Orebić. This was quickly followed by a large forest fire in the Metković area.

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With the sounds of the patron saints hymn echoing around the stone facades of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik and the raising of the banners of St. Blaise in front of the church named in his honour the 1047th Festivity of St. Blaise was opened today.

In the traditional opening ceremony in front of the church of St. Blaise the bishop of Dubrovnik, Msgr. Mate Uzinic, and instead of reading the list of guests on two pages, the Dubrovnik bishop, as he said, decided to summarize in two sentences which provoke applause from the assembled crowds.

- Dear guests, friends, pilgrims, welcome to the city of St. Blaise, welcome to our festivity. Dear citizens of Dubrovnik be blessed with the Festivity of St. Blaise - Msgr. Mate Uzinic said adding that this year's celebration begins a three-year preparation for the 1050th anniversary celebration of the festival.

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- We plan to celebrate this great anniversary with the celebration of the diocese synods. The last one was also in the jubilee year of 1900. In this synod we would like to thank our past and our tradition in a new way to contemplate the present of our local church," said Bishop Uzinic, pointing out - This year's festival is unfortunately marked by the tragic tragedies that have hit our city and diocese in recent months. These tragedies in many of our families have led to the loss of human life. True, some tragedies cannot be avoided. We live in an imperfect world, but some of them are in part our responsibility. St. Blaise is a real opportunity to examine both us as individuals and as a church and as a social community, so that we all try again to focus on what is important to us.

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The Rector of the St. Blaise Church, mons. Toma Lucic, read greeting cards, congratulations and good wishes for the Festivity of St. Blaise from all over the world. Along with the hymn of St. Blaise, the ringing of church bells and the blasts of the Dubrovnik Musketeers, this year’s masters of ceremonies, seafarer Ivo Loncaric and craftsman Pero Butijer raised the banner of St. Blaise.

Long Live St. Blaise!

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On the occasion of the Festivity of St. Blaise and Day of the City of Dubrovnik, Mayor Mato Franković sent congratulations to all citizens. Here is his message:

Dear citizens of Dubrovnik,

We proudly celebrate the Day of our City for the 1047th time. The centuries behind us testify to the strong link between this city and our patron saint of St. Blaise. The festivity of Saint Blaise connects us all together, we celebrate it together.

This year is unique as we celebrate 10 years since the celebration of St. Blaise's Festival has been added to the UNESCO list of intangible world cultural heritage of mankind, but also 40 years since the entry of the historic core of Dubrovnik onto the World Heritage List, which is another great UNESCO anniversary. We also celebrate 600 years since the raising of the Orlando’s Column, our knight who represents the most important sacral symbol of the Dubrovnik state, representing the most important secular symbol of the Dubrovnik state.

By nurturing our tradition, we thank our ancestors and we are will protect it for those generations who will come after we have gone. Because the traditions we have inherited are an inseparable part of the identity of this City.

Dear citizens of Dubrovnik, all of you whose lives have taken you far from this City, whether you are seafarers or you have built your home somewhere else, I know that Saint Blaise is in your hearts. As it protects his City, Saint Blaise also protects his seafarers and with arms wide open awaits the return of anyone who has temporarily or permanently moved to another place.

On behalf of the City of Dubrovnik and in my name, I would like to congratulate you on the Day of the City of Dubrovnik and the Festivity of St. Blaise. Let the power of St. Blaise always follow you.

Long Live St. Blaise!

Mayor of Dubrovnik

Mato Franković

The early programme of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which will traditionally be held from 10 July to 25 August on around twenty site-specific locations in Dubrovnik, was presented to the public by the Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival Dora Ruždjak Podolski, Assistant Director for Theatre Saša Božić, Assistant Director for Music Tomislav Fačini, Assistant Director for Innovative Cultural Practices Karolina Rugle and Executive Director of the Festival Ivana Medo Bogdanović on Saturday, 2 February, at the Festival Palace as part of the Festivity of Saint Blaise and the Day of the City of Dubrovnik. Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepšić expressed her support on behalf of the City of Dubrovnik, and Deputy Prefect Žaklina Marević on behalf of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

One of the oldest and most prestigious European festivals, a member of the European Festivals Association since 1956, will present its numerous domestic and international audiences with over 80 theatre, music, ballet, film, folklore and other performances during 47 days of its big, seventieth anniversary edition in the following season. The conceptual guideline of the seventieth Dubrovnik Summer Festival is based on the slogan City Myths.

- The programme brings together best Croatian artists and top performances by international artists, it disintegrates the mythology of the European cultural heritage, the myths of Dubrovnik and the myths of the Festival, at the same time questioning the past and the future of site-specific performance practices and nurturing the relationship between tradition and modernity. Its own production remains the backbone of its theatre programme, thus confirming the national, cultural and historical identity built by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival during its long existence, with the model of the Festival Drama Ensemble as its specific feature - Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski pointed out in her introduction.

The seventieth Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening ceremony, written and directed by the Artistic Director of the Festival Dora Ruždjak Podolski and Assistant Artistic Director for Theatre Saša Božić, will take place on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, in front of St Blaise's Church, and it will include the performance of the Hannover Niedersachs State Opera Orchestra, one of the finest European orchestras, and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir, directed by maestro Ivan Repušić, with participation of the Festival Drama Ensemble.

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The first premiere title of the Festival in its anniversary year will be one of the most famous tragedies of the great William Shakespeare, Hamlet, directed by Paolo Magelli, which will be performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble on the mythical Lovrjenac Fort from 27 to 31 July. This is the first time Paolo Magelli is directing at the Festival since 2006, when he staged Birds based on Aristophanes in Medarevo. The assortment of famous actors who played the Prince of Denmark on Dubrovnik's Elsinore, Daniel Day Lewis, Derek Jacobi, Rade Šerbedžija, Goran Višnjić and others, will be joined this summer by Frano Mašković. The premiere of Geranium, directed by Marina Pejnović, based on Ivo Vojnović's short story of the same name and Antun Šoljan's short story Island from the collection Prayer in the Promenade, will take place in August. Widow Mara will be played by Doris Šarić Kukuljica. Encouraged by last year's success of programmes for children, the seventieth edition of the Festival brings a premiere of music drama production of The Little Prince at the Rector's Palace Atrium, based on the most famous work of the celebrated French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which will be composed and conducted by Ivan Josip Skender, and directed by Hrvoje Korbar.

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The Festival audience will enjoy the selection of Ranko Marinković's prose for the second year in a row in the production of Under the Balconies, directed by Dario Harjaček and dramatised by Vedrana Klepica and Dario Harjaček. Nataša Kopeč is the winner of Orlando for best drama performance at the 69th Festival for the role of Olivija in Under the Balconies, which is staged at the University of Dubrovnik Campus Park.

The theatre programme of the 70th Festival includes guest performances of some of the best recent Croatian productions; Rene Medvešek will stage the hit production of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb One Song a Day Takes Mischief Away at Gradac Park. Inspired by Krešo Golik's script for one of the most popular films in the history of Croatian cinematography, based on Vjekoslav Majer's Diary of Little Perica from 1942, Medvešek has directed a theatrical potpourri which reconstructs the vanishing spirit of Zagreb. This production follows European cultural practice which treats cult films as cultural treasure in order to inspire new generations of viewers.

Ballet lovers will be presented with The Four Seasons, ballet in two acts choreographed by Ilya Zhivoi to the score of Max Richter based on Vivaldi and performed by one of the world's best ballets, the Russian Mariinsky Theatre, whose guest performance represents a unique national event. Another exclusive dance programme is a production of A Love Supreme, a piece for four dancers based on the music of John Coltrane and named after his famous jazz album. Authors of choreography are the famous Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis, and it is produced by one of the most renowned European ensembles, Belgian Rosas.

The music programme of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival brings big names and exceptional programmes, and it opens on open-air festival stage in front of St Blaise's Church on 11 July 2019 with the big gala concert of the Hannover Niedersachs State Opera Orchestra and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir with distinguished soloists – soprano Evelin Novak, mezzo-soprano Khatuna Mikaberidze, tenor Tomislav Mužek and bass-baritone Tobias Schabel, under the baton of maestro Ivan Repušić.

In collaboration with the Caboga Stiftung, the concert of award-winning and internationally renowned artists, bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac accompanied by pianist Danijel Detoni, will take place at the Bunić-Kaboga Summer Villa on 12 July. The Zagreb Soloists will perform at the Rector's Palace Atrium on 14 July with pianist Martina Filjak, who regularly thrills international public and critics with her passionate, and yet lyrical performances and technical perfection. The Zagreb Soloists are celebrating their hundredth performance at the Festival with this concert. Ensemble Esperanza, the Zagreb Quartet, which will perform alongside virtuoso classical guitarist Ana Vidović, and the Croatian Radio and Television Choir will hold concerts at the Rector’s Palace Atrium. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra conducted by Franz Anton Krager will also hold a concert at the Rector's Palace with distinguished soloist, trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, who has performed with the world's greatest ensembles and who is known for his phenomenal performance and relentless innovativeness. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will also perform at the Festival under the baton of Ivo Lipanović with violinist Katarina Kutnar. The famous pianist Yuja Wang, who will be performing in Croatia for the first time, and clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, who thrilled the Dubrovnik audience last year, will perform together at the Rector's Palace on 6 August. Huge interest of the Festival audience is common when it comes to concerts of great pianist Ivo Pogorelić, who will again appear at the Festival in its anniversary year on 18 August and perform Bach's English Suite No. 3, Beethoven's Sonata No. 11, Chopin's Barcarolle and Prelude Op. 45, and Ravel's three-movement composition Gaspard de la nuit. The music of Dubrovnik summer villas will also be performed at the Rector's Palace Atrium in a programme which presents all seven symphonies and chamber works of Luka Sorkočević. The Croatian Baroque Ensemble will perform under the baton of Hervé Niquet. Avishai Cohen Trio, a unique jazz group known for their unforgettable concerts, led by the famous bassist, vocalist and composer Avishai Cohen, will prepare a jazz treat on the Revelin Fort Terrace. The spectacular closing ceremony of the Festival will take place on 25 August with the concert of the Symphony Orchestra of the Croatian Radio and Television under the baton of Italian conductor Enrico Dindo, alongside another Italian, a virtuoso percussionist Simone Rubino.

The Festival programme traditionally includes performances of the Linđo Folklore Ensemble, as well as the collaboration with two film festivals, so the Dubrovnik audience will have the opportunity to enjoy best films from Pula and Motovun. Apart from films and exhibitions, the audience will be presented with numerous different programmes, including the premiere of the documentary 70 Years of the Festival by Vedran Benić, coproduced by the Croatian Radio and Television and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and a three-day symposium Future of Ambience.

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- The programme and the financial plan of the 70th Festival, which amounts to 17.8 million kuna, were unanimously adopted at the Council meeting held on 28 January at the Ministry of Culture. The last year's budget plan is increased by 5 million kuna (the budget plan from February 2018 amounted to 12.8 million kuna). We are thankful for this significant increase primarily to the City of Dubrovnik, which provided altogether 6.5 million kuna of programme funds, which is 103% more than last year. The budget has also grown thanks to the 700,000 KN from the European funds which were granted to the Festival for projects Future Epics and Port of Dreamers. The Festival's own income also contributed to the increase thanks to the donation of the Caboga Foundation, as well as numerous sponsors such as Mastercard, HEP, Tele 2 and others – Executive Director Ivana Medo Bogdanović stated.

Tickets for nearly twenty different programmes are already available via www.ulaznice.hr ticketing service and from the Festival website www.dubrovnik-festival.hr. Ticket reservations for the programmes which are still unavailable for purchase are accepted by the Sales Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 020 326 107.

Croatia has a new millionaire after a lucky winner picked up a whopping 2.6 million Kuna in last night’s EuroJackpot. With the numbers 6, 29, 38, 45, 47 plus 2 and 3 nobody won the main prize with seven five correct number and two, so called, “Euro Numbers.” But a lucky winner from Croatia correctly guessed five numbers and a one Euro Number.

It was a fine margin, because the jackpot for all the numbers was a massive 49 million Euros. The Croatian winner was quite possibly stopped to fill up his or her car with petrol on the motorway and decided to buy a lottery ticket. As the location of the ticket was announced as a petrol station on the Rijeka – Zagreb motorway.

The next draw is next Friday and the main prize is a colossus 69 million Euro!

The Croatian Minister of Labor, Marko Pavić, confirmed on Saturday in Dubrovnik that inspectors had uncovered some defects at the Dubrovnik hydroelectric power station in Plat. Certain failures of occupational safety were discovered after the inspection. On the 10th of January a fire broke out at the power station and three workers sadly lost their lives.

“After the inspections some defects were found in the field of protection at work,” commented Pavić. The Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, revealed a few days ago that an investigation was underway at the hydroelectric power plant but until today no further details had been published.

The gale force southerly winds that started blowing yesterday have dumped huge amounts of plastic waste into the Old City of Dubrovnik harbor. The public cleaning company were on the scene early this morning to start the clean-up action of plastic waste that appears to be mainly from Albania.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that Dubrovnik and the south of Croatia have plenty of experience with over the past few years.  The Director of the Public Cleaning company, Marko Iveković, commented that dozens of cleaners arrived to scoop up the waste and that more than 25 skips of waste had already been collected.

On the eve of one of the most important days in the city, the Festivity of St. Blaise, this is a problem that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. And as most of the Croatian government is in town they will also have the opportunity to see at first hand this pollution.

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The celebration of the Day of the City of Dubrovnik and the Festivity of the patron saint, St. Blaise, started today with a commemoration to the defenders of the city during the Homeland War at the Boninovo cemetery.

Bells rang out from the church and candles were lit by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, the Minister of Defense, Damir Krstičević, and many other dignitaries from the Dubrovnik city council.

Wreathes were also laid by the Mayor of Vukovar, a sister city of Dubrovnik, as well as veterans’ associations.

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THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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