Tartu City Day to push the envelope of three Estonian theatres

Tartu City Government

12 June 2018

Ooperisümbioos, the mini-festival of opera and classical music being held for the third time this summer, will see three Estonian theatres that do not normally stage operas bringing the genre to audiences on Tartu City Day. Trying their hand at staging productions in the genre on 29 June will be Uku Uusberg, Ott Aardam and Lennart Peep. The almost 40 free events taking place as part of Tartu City Day range from a gala concert to a book fair showcasing local authors.

As might be expected of a city vying for the title of European Capital of Culture, Tartu is not taking the easy route in its programming of Tartu City Day, but pulling three theatre directors, six opera soloists, six actors and the entire audience out of their comfort zone. Three theatres accepted the challenge of staging a world-famous opera of their choosing in just 45 minutes and with just four players (two opera singers and two actors): the Estonian Drama Theatre, Ugala Theatre and Black Box.

The audience will get to enjoy Uku Uusberg’s Don Giovanni, Ott Aardam’s The Magic Flute and Lennart Peep’s Madame Butterfly.

Reigo Tamm, the artistic director for Tartu City Day, says the theatres are not aiming to reproduce every nuance of the well-known stories in their symbiotic productions. “They certainly draw their inspiration from the characters and the most famous arias and duets, and of course from the twists and turns of the plots, but they’re very much new takes as envisioned by the directors,” he explained. “And you never know, there might even be some surprise endings!”

Among the actors taking part who to date have never appeared in opera performances are Luule Komissarov and Laura Kalle from Ugala Theatre and Karmo Nigula and Uku Uusberg from the Estonian Drama Theatre, the latter of whom is also the author and director of the theatre’s production. The Black Box production features actors Kaija M. Kalvet and Mihkel Kallaste. The premieres will also be a new experience for the six opera soloists taking part: Maria Listra, Pirjo Jonas, Tuuri Dede, Rasmus Kull, Tamar Nugis and Simo Breede.

All three productions will be performed twice during Tartu City Day.

Tamm says the unique challenge being undertaken by the authors, directors, actors and singers is likely to interest a wide-ranging audience. “It’ll be exciting for dyed-in-the-wool opera lovers, of course, who’ll have fun recognising the elements of the story in the scaled-down versions, but it’ll also be enjoyable for those who’ve never really wanted or had the chance to get into opera before,” he said.

Bringing Tartu City Day to a close will be a gala concert starting at 21:00 on Town Hall Square, during which the audience will enjoy some of the best-loved numbers from world-famous operas. Contributing to the concert will be the University of Tartu Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Taavi Kull. MC for the event will be actor Raivo E. Tamm, who will be joined on stage by Tartu City Day’s artistic director Reigo Tamm.

As part of Tartu City Day, Ooperisümbioos 3 will also be doffing its hat to the art of theatre during a midday concert in the city centre. ‘Theatre Songs in Pirogov Park’ will entertain the audience with both recognisable tunes and less-widely known numbers from plays and musicals, performed by Vanemuine Theatre soloists Karmen Puis, Merle Jalakas, Valentina Kremen and Jaan Willem Sibul and actor Veikko Täär. The singers will be accompanied by Tartu Sax Choir, led by conductor Toomas Peterson.

The audience will also be able to enjoy Paavo Piik’s amusing concert production ‘Diiva’ at 15:00 at the Vanemuine Concert Hall, based on mezzo-soprano Annaliisa Pillak’s real-life transcripts from the world of music. Pillak herself will be on stage, accompanied by pianist Siim Selis. The show is not language-based and can be enjoyed by all audiences.

Tartu City Day’s sponsors and partners are Tartu Kaubamaja, Tartu Postimees, the University of Tartu, Ehitustrust AS, Ehitusfirma Rand & Tuulberg AS, AS Fortum Tartu, Kaubamaja, Heino Eller’s Tartu School of Music, Püssirohukelder, KIA/Autospirit Tartu OÜ, Green Park, Paar Printing House, Eesti Leivatööstus OÜ, Café Shakespeare, the Vanemuine Theatre, the Vanemuine Concert Hall, Blossom Flower Salon and the National Archives of Estonia.


For further information please contact:

Reigo Tamm
Artistic Director
+372 5558 3254

Maris Peebo
+372 50 68 770