Culture / festival
51st edition of Varaždin Baroque Evenings
The most famous specialised music festival of northern Croatia.
For the past 51 years, at the beginning of autumn, castles, churches, palaces and concert venues have been converted into stages that cherish Croatian baroque heritage.
The Festival inspires artists to explore, perform and authentically preserve baroque music.
Baroque Evenings are held from the 17th until the 29th of September, with more than 30 concerts held in Varaždin.
Focus on authenticity
In 1968, as a Musical School in Varaždin was celebrating its 140th birthday, a group of musicians and culture professionals came up with an idea to create a festival that would bring together Varaždin’s history, architecture, art, literature and music.
The first Festival was held in 1971, with a three-day program. It quickly became one of the rare and vital events specialised in preserving baroque music in Europe.
All participants, national and international, are invited to explore, perform and preserve Croatian Baroque and perform some of the greatest Baroque artists.
The main focus of the Festival is to be authentic. Varaždin, as the best-preserved Baroque city in Europe, provides an authentic experience as the program is performed in palaces, churches and castles of the Baroque period.
Performances presented to the public were created by Baroque composers and performed on authentic baroque instruments.
Additionally, the Festival brings together musical and cultural experts from all over Europe to discuss the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of this type during a scientific conference.
Each year, the Festival has a partner country, and so far, Varaždin has partnered with Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Israel, Austria, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Japan, Sweden and Slovakia. This year’s partner country is Slovenia.
Since 1986, the Festival has been under the patronage of the European Council for Culture.
It was also recognised by the European Festivals Association (EFFE) and received the label An innovative festival of high cultural and national importance.
Since 1992 the Festival has been sponsored by the President of the Republic of Croatia and organised by the Concert Agency Varaždin.
The Baroque Nights grew out of Varaždin borders. It lasts for two weeks, with over thirty concerts performed by national and international artists, including performances by the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra.
This year’s highlights
The program of the 51st edition of Varaždin Baroque Evenings was divided into three categories:
- In Varaždin,
- Around Varaždin and
- Total Baroque.
The opening ceremony was held in the Cathedral in Varaždin, under the artistic leadership of Domen Marinčić, as Baroque Orchestra Musica Cubicularis, a soprano Ivana Lazar and tenor Aco Aleksander Bišćević performed Lully, Rebel, Handel and Vivaldi.
Mayor of Varaždin, Neven Bosilj, opened the Festival by acknowledging how the Festival has connected the world of music for more than 50 years and welcomed partner country Slovenia as one that preserves the tradition of performing Baroque music on original instruments.
Visitors this year will enjoy the concert of the Choir of Croatian National Radio Television, Croatian Baroque Ensemble and many international collaborations of artists that will perform some of the most memorable pieces of national and international Baroque music.
The additional program known as Total Baroque includes various events around the streets of Varaždin. Visitors can visit concerts with Baroque coffee, galleries, recitals, book presentations, plays and gala dinners with traditional Slovenian food.
Restaurants and hotels in Varaždin prepare an authentic Baroque gastronomic experience as they offer special menus as part of the Festival, paired with local wines.
Attending the Festival is possible with the COVID passport, with testing checkpoints available to all visitors.