Winter Festival brings treats for classical music fans

Ljubljana – The 5th Winter Festival, the special winter edition of Ljubljana Festival, is getting under way tonight with a concert featuring three Baroque masterpieces by Bach, Ferrandini and Handel, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.

The festival, which makes the wait for popular summertime concerts of Ljubljana Festival shorter, will deliver eight events through 5 February.

Tonight’s performance, conducted by Bart Van Reyn, one of Belgium’s leading new generation conductors, will mark not only the start of Winter Festival but also the end of the 7th festival of Baroque music held by the Slovenian Philharmonic.

Reyn, for whom this is not the first time to be cooperating with the Slovenian Philharmonic, has hand-picked the soloists who will perform tonight – sopranos Julie Doyle and Griet De Geyter, from the UK and Belgium, respectively, and mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj from Slovenia.

Another three concerts will be hosted by Slovenia’s largest arts centre, Cankarjev Dom, where star pianist Maria Joao Pires from Portugal will perform Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, the first concerto he composed. She will be accompanied by the RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra, led by Brazilian conductor Ricardo Castro.

Opera fans have another treat in store as Joseph Calleja, a Maltese-born tenor, will interpret works by French composers as well as present his take on great lyric and veristic tenor roles. He will be accompanied by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra that will be conducted by Italy’s Gianluca Marciano.

The Knights’ Hall at the Križanke venue will host four performances, mainly piano recitals, including by the Italian virtuoso duo of Sergio Marchegiani and Marco Schiavo.

The festival will come to a close with another masterpiece, Mozart’s Requiem, performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir, RTV Slovenija Symphony Orchestra, the Ljubljana Glasbena Matica choir and soloists, and conducted by France’s Yan Pascal Tortelier.