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Riga to Open European Capital of Culture Year With Three-day Celebration

Riga to Open European Capital of Culture Year With Three-day Celebration

Rīga will open the European Capital of Culture year with a three-day celebration between January 17 and January 19, 2014, giving a taste of Rīga’s extensive cultural programme for 2014.

One of the central events will be the Chain of Booklovers, during which books will travel from the old National Library building to the new one by being handed from one person to the next along a living chain of people.

Event on January 18 will give the public a taste of Rīga’s European Capital of Culture programme at the Rīga Central Market, where each of the pavilions will be dedicated to one thematic line of the programme.

Another important event opening the European Capital of Culture year in Rīga will be the performance of Richard Wagner’s opus “Rienzi. Rise and Fall” at the Latvian National Opera; an opera which Rienzi started composing while living in Rīga.

The key feature of the Parade of Light on January 18 will be a seven-metre high ship of light. The light performance about nature, man and culture will take place on the banks of the river Daugava, between the Railway Bridge and Suspension Bridge in the evening of January 18. Music for the performance was written by Jānis Lūsēns, and the performance itself is an impressive firework and light display created by Kalvis Kalniņš and Normunds Bļasāns.

The opening of the European Capital of Culture programme will also include the world championship of fire sculptures, created by teams from all over the world. The public will have a chance to see how the sculptures are built at Ķīpsala Beach, as well as lend a helping hand if necessary. The sculptures will be set on fire in the evening of January 18 to determine the new world champions.

Sigulda, Rīga’s regional partner during the European Capital of Culture year, will also host several events, including snow art by British artist Simon Beck, light performances, large-scale installations by French creative company “Picto Facto”, an electronic music concert by Kaspars Tobis and video artist Artis Dzērve, and much more.

Text: Latvian Institute 2014 ©