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Gaudeamus – offering music, mystery and a display of fire and dance- starts this week

NGO Tartu Üliõpilasmaja Press Release


19 June / Gaudeamus, the international student song and dance festival will take place in Tartu from 22-24 June, combining lights, music, choral music and dance into a spectacle never seen before in Tartu.

The EV100 programme event begins on 22 June at 9 pm with the fire-lighting ceremony attended by all 4500 singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Baltic states. After lighting the ceremonial bonfire the performers and viewers will march to the arched bridge on the banks of Emajõe River accompanied by 1000 torches to start with an epic opening performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”.

The performance of “Carmina Burana” will include a grand stage performance complete with dances, magnificent costumes, decorations, light, water and pyrotechnical effects. The best sound-, light- and video artists are instrumental in bringing the piece to the stage.

“There will definitely be fire, a theme that is played with throughout the whole performance. Fire symbolizes destruction as well as rebirth, and we will tell that story using grand fire sculptures and fireworks,” said director of the opening ceremony Mart Koldits. The conductor is Tõnu Kaljuste, author of the fire sculptures is Tiiu Kirsipuu.

Koldits promises that the legendary former night club Atlantis will also be part of the performance, although it has closed its doors. “We can use that place very well, because it is also connected to the overall theme. Tartu is, after all the cradle of university life – this is where people start their independent life, where they party. The performance will take place in front of Atlantis, in it, as well as around it”, explained the director. The opening event is free of charge.

On 23 June at 10 pm the first nocturnal dance celebration “The Mystery of Midsummer Eve” will take place. The best dancers from Universities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will take to a stage four times as big as an Olympic swimming pool. For the first time in the festival’s long history folk dance will be combined with modern dance and lighting will be an integral part of the performance.

“The performance tells us of a young man and a woman who fall in love but are forbidden to be together. It seems like an old legend or a myth about the origins of the Midsummer Eve celebrations where light is almost like a character – an important and constantly changing character” explained director Renee Nõmmik. Ardo Ran Varres is the musical designer and Meelis Lusmägi the lighting artist.

On 24 June at 3 pm the thousands of participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will start the parade to the Tartu Song Festival Grounds from the University of Tartu. At 4 pm the song festival, concert and performance “The Songs of Midsummer” will start. The script of the performance is Indrek Hargla, the producer is Ain Mäeots, the artist is Maarja Meeru, the artistic director of the song festival is Kuno Kerge.

“The songs of Midsummer” combines movie and performing arts. Indrek Hargla has created 4 stories that should make us all think of the true meaning of Midsummer. At times these stories are quite serious and even sad, but of course they’re not without lighter moments – our wish first and foremost is to give meaning to this magical time and to show what the true spirit of this modern BBQ holiday is, said the director of “The Songs of Midsummer”, Ain Mäeots.

The free city stages on the Tartu Town Hall Square will see performances by performers from Estonia, Latvia but also South Africa from the 23rd to the 24th of June.

The international student festival Gaudeamus takes place in Tartu 22-24 June and will host about 4500 singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Baltics. In addition to the song festival “The Songs of Midsummer “ and the nocturnal dance celebration “The Mystery of Midsummer Eve” there will be a multitude of free events throughout the city.

Festival programme is available HERE. Photos from previous and the current Gaudeamus are available HERE.

The project is supported by Estonia 100, the Ministry of Education and Research, Ministry of Culture, the city of Tartu, Universities Estonia, University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, and the Estonian National Museum.

Additional information:
Meelika Hirmo
Communications director
Phone: +372 50 41 258
E-mail: meelika@gaudeamus.ee

Last changed 19.06.2018