Ivana Marija Vidović, distinguished Croatian pianist and poetesse, the founder and director of the Epidaurus Festival in Cavtat
A unique concert atmosphere in beautiful Cavtat, in front of the Banac Residence, just by the sea
Picturesque Croatian town of Cavtat (ancient Epidaurus)
The entrance to the Banac Residence in Cavtat, adorned with a girl and boy in beutiful costumes of the Konavle region near Dubrovnik.
Ivana Marija Vidović in the middle with Marijke Brekelmans (Amsterdam)
Meri Cetinić and Radojka Šverko
Beautiful Late Summer:
The Epidaurus Cavtat Festival has enriched the southern part of Croatia for the seventeenth time!
Under the motto 'Living with Arts,' the international music and art festival Epidaurus Cavtat took place for the seventeenth year in a row from August 27th to September 17th. The festival, recognized and renowned internationally, has made Cavtat the center of the art world at the end of each summer for 17 years, bringing over fifty performers and hosting more than 200 concerts and events. During these seventeen years of tradition, the festival has been supported and generously sponsored by more than 20 sponsors, for which the festival's management sincerely expresses gratitude.
Here's what we could enjoy this summer:
August 27th: The Power of Music - Exhibition by the Dubrovnik Association of Visual Artists / Prelude to the 17th Epidaurus - Peace to the World
Celebrating one art form through another, the first day of this year's festival opened with the exhibition 'The Power of Music' by the Dubrovnik Association of Visual Artists at the Cavtat Cultural Center, starting at 8 PM. The fantastic prelude to the program, titled 'Together for world peace' continued on the same evening at 8:30 PM when Ukrainian virtuoso Danylo Sayenko held a piano concert. Indeed, in the words of the audience who came to celebrate the first evening of this year's Epidaurus Cavtat festival, this was an opportunity to hear the rare virtuosity of exceptional abilities in a two-hour, highly demanding program.
Exhibition: Moć glazbe (The Power of Music), Cavtat 2023
"Painting transforms space into time, and music transforms time into space. We are facing a time machine in which we celebrate great individuals - Dora Pejačević, whose portrait you can see, is truly the greatest muse of Croatian music, absolutely unmatched. The Dubrovnik Association of Visual Artists paid tribute to three anniversaries - hers, that of the great Maria Callas, and Pablo Picasso, so these portraits adorn the Cavtat Cultural Center, and the exhibition will remain open until the end of the festival," said pianist Ivana Marija Vidović, opening the 17th edition of the festival. During the evening, a painting titled 'Cavtat at Sunset' by Luce Đuraš, who was also the festival's main visual artist, was prominently displayed. The exhibition could be viewed throughout the festival.
August 31st: 'Stars under the Stars' - Gala Opening Concert
On the magical terrace of Villa Banac, the Gala Opening Concert, 'Stars under the Stars,' took place at 8:30 PM. The gala concert featured performances by Radojka Šverko and Prof. Vladimir Babin on the piano, as well as Meri Cetinić on vocals and piano. The powerful voices of our divas were accompanied by our renowned Ragusa vocal group: Gordana Bonačić (alto), Krunoslav Težak (second tenor, guitar), Pero Franić (baritone, guitar), Borislav Banić (first bass, double bass), Đuro Bratičević (baritone, mandolin group leader), Josip Greguš (second bass, second mandolin), completing this musical journey. More than three hundred music lovers were in attendance.
"Music is the strongest human unifier; it heals. Let us be love, be part of this beautiful, magnificent eternity. Music acts like a magical key; may it open even the strongest doors. For the seventeenth time, Epidaurus Cavtat is the capital of the world tonight - let's be its role model, let's be its shadow. This is an evening in which we once again realize that music is love and the only language in which we can never say something negative. Therefore, I kindly ask you to close your eyes for the 17th time and surrender to this beauty we have achieved together," emphasized the artistic director, Ivana Marija Vidović, solemnly opening the 17th edition of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival.
September 1st: Epidaurus Theater - Comedy 'And Where Are You From, Madam?'
On the first day of September, the Epidaurus Cavtat festival brought a theatrical treat to the audience - at the Cavtat Cultural Center, Ksenija Prohaska and Marjan Nejašmić Banić performed the comedy 'And Where Are You From, Madam?', an author's play by Ksenija Prohaska under the direction of Krešimir Dolenčić.
Actress and leading performer of the Split National Theater, Ksenija Prohaska, returned to Cavtat for the fourth time as part of the Epidaurus festival, and the audience remembers her emotional intensity and energy in portraying distinctive, powerful female characters such as Marlene Dietrich, Clara Schumann, and Edith Piaf, whom she also performs in several languages. This time, together with her young colleague Marjan Nejašmić Banić, she provoked bursts of laughter, prolonged applause, and ovations from the audience. September 2nd: 'De Epidauro' - 'De Natura Sonorum'
As part of the 17th Epidaurus Cavtat festival, 'De Epidauro' took place on September 2nd - before a select audience, a truly exclusive event unfolded - a lecture by the curator of the Museum and Galleries of Konavle, Helena Puhar, and a performance by the excellent accordion duo Accoladies Duo Magics. Danijela Gazdić Kljajić and Azra Halitović performed the program 'De Natura Sonorum' and took us on a genuine musical-historical journey through this mythical place.
Realizing such a historical and artistic encounter had long been an idea of the artistic director and founder of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival, Ivana Marija Vidović, who did not hide her happiness that it had been realized. A concert of this kind, at the ruins of old Epidaurus, was the first of its kind, not only in the Epidaurus Cavtat festival but also in Cavtat and beyond.
September 8th: 'Chi piu di te Ragusa'
On September 8th, in the full garden of the Baltazar Bogišić Collection, an evening titled 'Chi piĂš di te Ragusa' was held, dedicated to the great erudite from Konavle, the late Maestro Don Miho Demović. A special tribute from the Epidaurus Cavtat festival to a music giant truly brought together all the cultural bodies of Croatia in which Don Miho worked, as well as many of his acquaintances, friends, and those who came this Friday to pay tribute to him.
Ivana Marija Vidović with her mother Franica Vidović Krampus
Don Miho Demović, his work, his connection to Konavle, the Baltazar Bogišić Collection, and the discovery of Josip Kraljić's works - which were premiered in his hometown this Friday - were discussed by Franica Krampus Vidović, the festival's expert advisor and assistant director; Ivana Marija Vidović, pianist, artistic director, and founder of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival; Božo Lasić, Mayor of the Municipality of Konavle; Mladen Tarbuk, President of the Croatian Composers' Society; Academician Nella Lonza on behalf of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts; and Ivana Grkeš, President of the Dubrovnik branch of Matica hrvatska. A heartfelt tribute to the work of Don Miho was opened with a recital of 'Ode to Ragusa,' which was recited emotionally and poetically in Italian and Croatian by the festival's artistic director, pianist Ivana Marija Vidović. Indeed, the title of this magical evening comes from the 'Ode to Ragusa'... 'For who is more beautiful than you, Dubrovnik?'
September 10th: 'The Marvelous Goldberg Variations'
Edoardo Bruni, an artist of unique expression, performed a piano recital on September 10th at the Cavtat Cultural Center, featuring the masterpiece of the Baroque era, 'The Marvelous Goldberg Variations.' This exceptional Italian artist played this challenging piano piece masterfully and effortlessly. It was an opportunity to get acquainted with the artist's own aesthetic vision and compositional technique of 'pan-modality,' aimed at synthesizing and surpassing the duality between tonality and atonality, and also to enjoy Johann Sebastian Bach's masterpiece.
"Great contemplativeness, a clear plot, and all polyphonic parts intertwine splendidly. Impressive concentration, all without the use of the pedal," highlighted pianist Ivana Marija Vidović, the artistic director of the festival, about Bruni's performance at the Cavtat Cultural Center. After a two-hour concert, Ivana Marija Vidović and artist Edoardo Bruni held an interesting dialogue that kept the audience not only interested but also thrilled until the very end! The Italian virtuoso received a special gift - a book about Konavle, signed by some of the concertgoers, with their impressions and gratitude. September 12th: Lecture 'Parade, a Tribute to Picasso and His Muses' / Recital by the Aventaggiato-Matarrese Duo
The lecture 'Parade, a Tribute to Picasso and His Muses' was held by Marijke Brekelmans at the Cavtat Cultural Center on Tuesday, September 12th, starting at 8 PM. Women had a significant influence on Pablo Picasso's painting throughout his artistic career. His various love affairs, as well as deep emotional connections with women, were often the subjects of his paintings, and as his work evolved, they also directly influenced the world of art. Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, had a series of muses throughout his long artistic life.
These women often played a key role in his artistic work and inspired him in various ways while also posing for him to immortalize his creations - Fernande Olivier, 'our' Dora Maar, Marie-Therese Walter, Francoise Gilot, Jacqueline Roque... Each of these women left her mark on Picasso's art in her own unique way, reflecting the different phases and styles through which the artist passed during his career. Picasso was known for continuously experimenting with different techniques and styles, and his muses played a crucial role in that creative process.
Historian Brekelmans gave an extremely interesting lecture on the complex relationship between the artist and his muses. It was a kind of journey through the love-creative life of one of the greatest artists in the history of visual arts.
This was followed by a magical recital by the Aventaggiato-Matarrese duo. Carla Aventaggiato and Maurizio Matarrese, regular piano professors at the "Nicole Piccinni" Conservatory in Bari, perform concerts as soloists and as a piano duo in numerous Italian and foreign cities. As part of this evening dedicated to French music and Picasso, they performed works by Ravel, Debussy, and Satie, and the select audience of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival enjoyed an exceptional musical delight of four-handed piano playing.
September 14th: 'Equilibrium Sonorum'
On September 14th, the Duo Rospigliosi had its premiere performance in Croatia as part of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival. They presented an intriguing program for piano and guitar, dedicated to the memory of Ante Skaramuca, a Dubrovnik pedagogue, guitarist, and painter.
The program, titled 'Equilibrium Sonorum,' once again filled the Cavtat Cultural Center, leaving the audience enriched with a unique musical experience. Lapo Vanucci on the guitar (for this evening, he played an instrument from the collection of our Ante Skaramuca), and Luca Torrigiani on the piano, performed works by Italian composers that are rarely heard in Croatian concert halls. The program included pieces by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Vito Nicola Paradiso, Teresa Procaccini, Francesco Di Fiore, Lucianna Bigazzi, and Maurizio Colonna. Their performance was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience, confirming the critics' observation that as a duo, they possess extraordinary communication skills and maintain constant attention to the beauty of sound throughout the entire performance.
September 16th: 'Camerata Epidaurus'
The program 'Camerata Epidaurus - Dora & Maria,' conceptually conceived as an open rehearsal, was held on September 16th in the intimate setting of the Cavtat Cultural Center. The local audience came to enjoy an evening filled with emotions, and foreigners were treated to a program ranging from Piazzolla to compositions by Dora Pejačević. The artists received strong applause after this unique musical journey. The evening wasn't dedicated solely to the great ladies of music - Dora Pejačević and Maria Callas, but also to the great Cavtat native, music lover, and life enthusiast - Professor Pero Kušelj.
Maestro Frano Kakarigi on the right, living in Granada (Spain),
born in the city of Dubrovnik as well as Ivana.
So, even though it was initially conceived differently, the 'Camerata Epidaurus' evening was, in fact, the culmination of the mission that the Epidaurus Cavtat festival aspires to - love, unity, art in all its forms, and engagement and inclusion of young artists who will carry the torch of music. Therefore, let's mention them first - Nika Ružarija Orepić on the piano and Jakov Sekula on the violin. Ivana Marija Vidović on the piano, and Frano Kakarigi on the double bass, delivered a powerful musical impulse to the audience. The Vidović-Sekula-Kakarigi trio, in a relaxed atmosphere called 'Ad Hoc,' concluded the evening and received prolonged applause.
In addition to music, the Epidaurus Cavtat festival offered more to the audience - 'Life of Flowers,' poetry by Ivana Marija Vidović, translated into four languages and exclusively presented this Saturday in our county, although the book itself had its worldwide promotion. Ivana herself read her poetry, followed by art historian Marijke Brekelmans and Ante Tonči Đurković, an actor and festival technical collaborator.
Music history professor Franica Krampus Vidović provided the audience with an exceptional lecture on Dora Pejačević, revealing lesser-known details from the life of this music heroine.
September 17th: Closing Gala Concert of the 17th Epidaurus Cavtat Festival
Viva el tango, viva Epidaurus Cavtat festival! The seventeenth edition of the renowned festival, recognized on a global scale, concluded on September 17th with a spectacular fusion of Argentina and Italy. Diego Moreno, a true showman, leader, guitarist, and brilliant vocalist, performed with flutist and composer Domenico Guastafierro, drummer and percussionist Davedeo Ferrante, and jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Bruno Salicone.
Domenico Guastafierro, flutist
During the energetic performance that lasted for more than two hours, our renowned double bassist Frano Kakarigi also joined them, along with an outstanding tango dance couple - Lucas Boock and Bianca Vrcan from the Rojo y Negro dance studio. They were joined on stage in a milonga performance by long-time Festival friends Marijke Brekelmans and Ronald Drenton. However, they weren't the only ones dancing - by the end of the concert, hundreds of people in the audience were dancing, enthusiastically following Diego, a virtuoso communicator who conveyed his energy to everyone who came to say goodbye to the summer in Cavtat and to the last evening of this year's Epidaurus Cavtat festival.
On that September 17th, Cavtat's summer cinema was truly a place of exceptional energy, with the power of music and love for art.
"I am truly grateful and happy that I can do something like this for Cavtat, Dubrovnik, and Croatia. We couldn't listen to or watch artists without our sponsors, to whom I am sincerely thankful," emphasized pianist Ivana Marija Vidović, the artistic director of the festival, during the conclusion of the 17th Epidaurus Cavtat festival. She listed the sponsors who made one of the most enriching editions of the festival possible since its inception.
"The Epidaurus Cavtat festival extends deep gratitude to all sponsors and collaborators who made the successful realization of the 17th Epidaurus festival possible. Your support and engagement were crucial in creating this extraordinary cultural event that enriched our community and people worldwide. Thank you for recognizing the importance of this event and choosing to support our vision. Your support was a key factor in bringing prominent artists from different parts of the world, creating a diverse and rich program. Thanks to your contribution, our audience enjoyed a variety of theater performances, concerts, exhibitions, and workshops that inspired and enriched our lives. I am particularly pleased that I successfully realized the idea of interaction with artists during all festival events, through short conversations and portraits in front of the audience, creating an atmosphere of joy and additional unity with the art that I tirelessly pursue and truly enjoy! Also, thanks to all collaborators, volunteers, and the organizing team who put in immense effort to ensure the festival ran smoothly. Your passion and dedication were essential in creating an atmosphere of hospitality and warmth that our visitors felt throughout every moment of the festival. In the end, I want to emphasize that your support not only contributed to the success of this year's Epidaurus festival but will have a lasting and positive impact on the art and culture of our community," said pianist Ivana Marija Vidović, artistic director and founder of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival, eagerly anticipating its eighteenth edition.
Photos: Igor Brautović / Hrvoje Đurković
Marijke Brekelmans (who had a lecture about "Picasso and his Muses") and Ivana Marija Vidović
From the left: Meri Cetinić, Ivana Marija Vidović, Radojka Šverko
Ivana Marija Vidović with her team
Franica Vidović Krampus in the middle, Ivana's mother
Franica Vidović Krampus, Meri Cetinić, Radojka Šverko, and Ivana Marija Vidović
Maestra Ivana Marija Vidović (pianist) and maestro Frano Kakarigi (double bass)