While attending one edition of the Riga Fashion Week, I managed to take a break from the excitement of the fashion shows, presentations, boutique openings, the never-ending business meetings and the occasional cocktails. I was determined to used the time to just “feel” the city’s rich history, culture, sights and its youthful and vibrant energy.
As fate would have it, my trip there coincided with Latvia’s preparations for its 100th year celebration as both a nation and as a cultural capitol of the world. And no better way presented itself to me than an invitation to visit the Latvijas Nacionala Opera un Balets (Latvian National Opera and Ballet or LNOB).
LNOB is situated in the neo-classical Latvian National Opera House, located in the center of Riga. It was originally built in 1863 by Ludwig Bohnstedt as the Riga German Theatre. Most of the original theatre was destroyed in the great fire of 1882. This led to its reconstruction under Riga’s chief architech of the time, Reinhold Schmaeling. In 1887 it became the first in the Baltic states to become electrified with its own power station. Since October 15, 1918, it passed under numerous authorities. However once Latvia reclaimed its independence in 1991 following collapse of the Soviet Union, its closed for reconstruction. It reopened in 1995, and its new annex was completed in 2001.
Throughout much of its history, the LNOB has played home to some of the most famous opera stars such as Elna Garanca, Kristine Opolais, Marina Rebeka, Inese Galante, etc. And both legendary conductor Andris Nelsons and ballet stars Mikhail Baryshnikov and Maris Liepa began their career on the very state of the theatre.
On the night that I visited the theatre, I was treated to an outstanding performance of Tchaikovsky’s class, Swan Lake. Staged by renowned choreographer Aivars Leimanis, this production proved to be a magical tour de force. This could not have been made possible without Mārtiņš Ozoliņš’s lordly conduction of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s musical masterpiece.
The lead dancers — which included Baiba Kokina as Odette, Jolanta Lubeja as Odile, Sergejs Neikshins as Prince Siegfried and Avetiks Karapetyan as Rothbart, the evil magician — delivered compelling and emotional performances that gave me chills. However, it is without a doubt the undeniably uncanny performance of Germans Sevcenko as the Jester that managed to elevate the entire production to unexpected levels. His light, airy and riveting appearances frequently stole the show during brief moments.
One must also appreciate the costumes created by Vecella Varslavane. They allow for an effortless and natural movement as the performers move through space and through tme. Conjugated with David Harvey‘s nuanced lighting, the whole spectacle made for an unforgettable experience of art, performance and luxury.
INSIGHTFUL TIPS ON THE LATVIAN NATIONAL OPERA AND BALLET
For more information on the Latvian National Opera and Ballet and its repertoire of ballet, opera, concerts and guest performances, be sure to visit https://www.opera.lv/en/repertoire.
You may also follow them on the following social media by clicking on the following direct links:
FOR HERITAGE INFORMATION AND FOR CULTURE TOURS OF LATVIA
To learn more about Latvia and its cultural heritage, please visit www.latvia.eu or www.li.lv or call +371 6750 3663. And to learn more on Latvia’s 100th Year Celebration as a nation and to participate, please visit Latvia100 at http://latvia.eu/latvias-centenary-0.
Fashion Insider would like to thank the following for making this amazing cultural experience possible: Latvijas Institus, Latvijas Nacionala Opera un Balets (Latvian National Opera and Ballet), the Riga Fashion Week and the Baltic Fashion Federation. Very special thanks goes to Mr. Edgars Skavariks.