In the early 1970s, when the Hotel Croatia was being built, excavations at Supetar revealed something fascinating, leading to a crucial decision: the hotel would be constructed not right there but above it. That's why today, just beneath the hotel, lies an archaeological site known as villa maritima, a place that has borne witness to a distant history for over two millennia. This Saturday, it became more than just a historical site - as part of the 17th Epidaurus Cavtat Festival, an event called 'De Epidauro' took place this Saturday. In front of a select audience, a successful double "exclusive" event unfolded - a lecture by the curator of the Museums and Galleries of Konavle, Helena Puhara, and a performance by the excellent accordion duo, Accoladies duo magics. Danijela Gazdić Kljajić and Azra Halitović presented the program 'De Natura Sonorum,' taking us on a true music-historical journey through this mythical place. This historical-artistic encounter had been simmering as an idea in the mind of the artistic director and founder of the Epidaurus Cavtat Festival, Ivana Marija Vidović, and it has now been realized.
'We are witnessing a unique evening where, for the first time in two thousand years, an artistic event is being organized. It is my pleasure, but also a great joy, to introduce our wonderful artists and curator Helena Puhara. This evening reminds me of the power of music, of what music can bring. It was the same two thousand years ago - when people wanted to communicate with other nations, they sang, played music, and used ancient instruments. That's how they understood each other, connected, and invoked with music or prayer,' said Ivana Marija Vidović, the founder and artistic director of the Epidaurus Cavtat Festival, before the event, expressing her gratitude to the 'exceptional collaborators' - the Adriatic Luxury Hotels and the director of Hotel Croatia, Mario Japarić, as well as the commercial director Luka Radović, and the Municipality of Konavle for constructing the stage at the site, and other supporters of the arts through this unique festival.
Helena Puhara, through an engaging lecture to the audience gathered at the Sustjepan site, shared her insights about this magical place in her own words, as well as through verses from the Dubrovnik writer and humanist Ilija Crijević. It was Crijević, as curator Puhara emphasized, who, in 1504 and 1505 when he served as the castellan of Sokol Fortress at that very location, wrote the poem De Epidauro in Latin, describing the ancient Epidaurus and the Konavle valley.
'I thank Ivana Marija Vidović and the Epidaurus Cavtat Festival team for their interest in promoting heritage through - we can now say - an institution that has been running for 17 years. Tonight's event is named De Epidauro - about Epidaurus, precisely after the title of Ilija Crijević's epic poem, one of the greatest Latinists and humanists of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The poem is dedicated to Epidauro, its fall, and the eschatological destination in the formation of the new city of Dubrovnik. Humanists throughout the fifteenth century showed interest in the archaeological heritage of Cavtat, and throughout the seventeenth century, the Dubrovnik government conducted a series of archaeological research and excavations in this area. So, we can say that Sustjepan is actually a relic of the past,' highlighted Helena Puhara. She further explained that the toponym Sustjepan suggests some structure, possibly a church, associated with St. Stephen, but there are still no material remains or archival confirmations for it.
The audience of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival, primarily composed of art and history enthusiasts, both local and many foreign visitors, also learned a part of Supetar's history, and in this way, they fell in love with our region.
Accoladies duo magics performed a program featuring works by Cesar Franck, Vivaldi, and even took the audience on a stroll to Monti's 'Czardas,' rewarding them with an encore performance of Piazzolla's 'Libertango.' As highlighted by Franica Vidović - Krampus, expert advisor and assistant director of the Festival, it was an "elegant female accordion performance, which also brought subtlety to the entire environment, location, and showcased the synergy between the professor and the student, deeply connected through music." The duo also performed pieces by Croatian composer Davor Bobić, director of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings, as well as works by Richard Galliano.
The Epidaurus Cavtat Festival extends sincere gratitude to all sponsors, donors, performers, and the audience, with the note that in case of bad weather, alternative locations for the Dom kulture in Cavtat and Čilipi will be used.
Information about the Epidaurus Cavtat Festival can also be found at www.epidaurusfestival.com and on the Festival's social media channels.