Are you looking for a unique and unforgettable cultural experience this summer?
Do you want to enjoy world-class music and theater performances in stunning historical settings?
Do you want to discover the beauty and heritage of one of the oldest and most charming cities in Europe?
- If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should not miss the Ohrid Summer Festival 2023!
In this article, we will give you a glimpse of what awaits you at the Ohrid Summer Festival 2023. We will introduce you to some of the artists, genres, and events that will make this edition unforgettable. We will also provide you with some practical information on how to plan your visit and make the most of your stay in Ohrid.
Whether you are a fan of classical music, contemporary theater, or anything in between, you will find something to suit your taste and interest at the Ohrid Summer Festival 2023.
Read on to find out more!
Short History of the Festival
The Ohrid Summer Festival owes its existence to the visionary opera singer Ana Lipsha Tofovic and her pianist companion Ladislav Perldic.
On August 4th, 1961, under the awe-inspiring arches of the St. Sophia Cathedral, Ana Lipsha Tofovic’s magical voice resonated, marking the birth of what would become the Ohrid Summer Festival. The inaugural concert showcased the works of renowned composers like Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and Gluck, highlighting the superb acoustics of St. Sophia and setting the stage for the festival’s journey.
The Ohrid Summer Festival witnessed significant periods of growth, including the involvement of legendary artists like Leonid Kogan and Andra Navara, both renowned virtuosos in their respective fields.
Their contributions, along with the participation of numerous local and international artists, solidified the festival’s reputation and marked an upward trajectory in its development.
The Ohrid Summer Festival takes place in several venues, each adding its own unique charm to the performances:
The Antique Theatre, with its built fixed wooden platform, serves as a central stage for musical, vocal, and theatrical performances. Nestled above the ancient central stage, this venue is often used for the ceremonial opening of the festival and high-profile shows.
Dolni Saraj encompasses the central part of the area and features multiple levels constructed from solid concrete material. It serves as a versatile stage for various performances, providing an impressive backdrop for the artists.
Vestibule of St. Sophia Church
The Vestibule of St. Sophia Church presents a captivating setting for musical and vocal interpretations. This scene includes the western rear part of the church, the terrace, and the southern and northern inner steps, offering a unique ambiance for the audience.
St. Sophia Church in Ohrid
The St. Sophia Church, an integral part of Ohrid’s cultural and spiritual history, hosts performances that highlight its acoustic grandeur. This venue primarily showcases musical and vocal interpretations, immersing the audience in the rich heritage of the region.
Centre for Culture
The Centre for Culture “Grigor Prlicev” features a large stage primarily used for theatrical performances. It offers an indoor setting and acts as an alternative venue when weather conditions prevent open-air shows.
The music program
The Ohrid Summer Festival 2023 offers a rich and diverse music program that will satisfy the tastes of all music lovers. Whether you prefer classical, jazz, folk, or contemporary music, you will find something to enjoy at the festival.
Here are some of the highlights of the music program:
Gala opening of the Ohrid Summer Festival
On July 12th, the festival will kick off with a spectacular concert featuring the renowned Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and the Orchestra of the National Opera and Ballet of Macedonia. The concert will take place at the Antique Theatre, a stunning ancient venue that will enhance the beauty and elegance of the performance.
On July 18th, you can witness the virtuosity and charisma of Nemanja Radulović and his Ensemble “Double Sens”, a group of talented musicians who combine classical and folk influences in their repertoire. The concert will take place at Dolni Saraj, a versatile stage that can accommodate various performances.
John Malkovich evening
On July 26th, you can enjoy a unique and unforgettable show featuring the famous actor John Malkovich and the soprano Chen Reiss. The show is a musical drama that explores the life and work of the composer Beethoven, with Malkovich playing his secretary and Reiss singing some of his most beautiful arias. The show will take place at the Antique Theatre, where you can admire the starry sky and the ancient atmosphere.
On July 30th, you can immerse yourself in the sounds and rhythms of Spain with La Spagna chamber ensemble. The ensemble consists of five musicians who play historical instruments such as viola da gamba, archlute, baroque guitar, harpsichord, and organ.
The ensemble will perform music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, as well as some traditional Spanish pieces. The concert will take place at St. Sophia Church.
You can also enjoy concerts by other artists from North Macedonia and abroad, such as: Niš Symphony Orchestra from Serbia, Inventio trio from Italy, Schumann Quartet from Germany, Pablo Barragan from Spain, Frank Dupree Trio from Germany, Emilios Riadis string quartet from Greece, Emanuel Salvador from Poland, Camerata Academica from Slovenia, Gianni Leccese from Italy, Alexey Botvinov from Ukraine, Jozeph Tawadros from Egypt and many more!
The theater program
The Ohrid Summer Festival 2023 also offers a captivating theater program that will showcase some of the best plays, actors, and directors from North Macedonia and beyond.
You can enjoy a variety of genres, styles, and themes at the festival, such as:
Edward the Second
A classic play by Christopher Marlowe that tells the tragic story of King Edward II of England and his doomed love for his favorite Piers Gaveston. The play is directed by Andriy Zholdak, a Ukrainian director known for his innovative and provocative approach to theater. The play will take place at Centre for Culture “Grigor Prlicev” on August 6th.
A contemporary play by Florian Zeller that explores the themes of truth, deception, and morality in human relationships. The play is directed by Nikola Ljuca, a Serbian director who has won several awards for his work in theater and film. The play will take place at Antique Theatre on August 20th.
You can also enjoy plays by other theater companies from North Macedonia and abroad, such as:
- The Ladies from Avignon – Ballet by National Opera and Ballet of Macedonia
- Anna Karenina – After Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy by Centre of Culture “Jordan H.K. Dzinot” from Veles
- Nora – After Henrik Ibsen by MGL from Slovenia
- Sergey is dumb – After Dmitry Danilov by Centre of Culture “Grigor Prlicev” – National Theatre from Ohrid
- The Decameron – After Giovanni Boccaccio by National Theatre “Vojdan Cernodrinski” from Prilep And many more!
The other events
The Ohrid Summer Festival 2023 is not only about music and theater, but also about other forms of art and culture that will enrich your festival experience.
You can also attend some of the other events that will take place at the festival, such as:
You can admire the works of various artists and photographers who will display their creations at different venues during the festival.
For example, you can visit the photo exhibition “Above the scenes” by Aleksandar Tomovski at the Vestibule of St. Sophia Church on July 25th.
You can discover some of the latest publications by Macedonian authors and learn more about their stories and inspirations. For example, you can attend the book promotion of “The colors of my music” by Snezana Anastasova Cadikovska, a Macedonian composer and pianist, at the Vestibule of St. Sophia Church on July 27th.
You can participate in some of the educational and interactive seminars that will be organized by experts and professionals in various fields of art and culture. For example, you can join the International seminar for baroque music, violin, viola and chamber music under the direction of the Macedonian violinist and professor Emilio Percan and prof. Tamila Guliyeva – piano at St. Sophia Church on August 13th.
To attend the events of the Ohrid Summer Festival, visitors must be aware of the following guidelines:
- Each event ticket is valid for one person only.
- Tickets are specific to the day of the event and cannot be refunded or replaced if unused.
- Visitors are responsible for keeping their tickets secure, as lost or damaged tickets cannot be replaced.
- Misuse of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law.
- Ticket reservations can be made via email or phone. Visitors must provide their details to secure the reservation.
- Reservations are valid until the specified event date, no later than 15:00.
Rules of Conduct During Events
- Prohibited items include animals, missiles or weapons, pyrotechnics, flammable substances, alcoholic beverages, and objects with political or commercial messages.
- Smoking is strictly prohibited in the auditoriums.
- Cell phones and other sound devices should be turned off during performances.
- Visitors must comply with the designated rules and regulations, and the organizers reserve the right to deny entry to those who violate them.
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The Ohrid Summer Festival is an extraordinary cultural event that brings together artists, performers, and audiences from around the world. Rooted in the historical and spiritual significance of Ohrid, this festival pays homage to the region’s rich cultural heritage.
From its humble beginnings to its recognition as a member of the European Festival Association, the Ohrid Summer Festival has established itself as a manifestation of global importance.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of music, theater, and dance while experiencing the magic of Ohrid’s ancient venues.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to witness the convergence of tradition, art, and culture!
Learn more about: How to get to Ohrid from different places?