Torchlit procession and special performance set to take place on Emajõgi River


NPO Tartu Üliõpilasmaja
22 June 2018

Today marks the start of Gaudeamus, the international student festival, which is drawing almost 4500 first-class performers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to Tartu. The festival brings together light art, music, choral singing and dance in a special performance dedicated to Midsummer.

The event, which forms part of the programme marking Estonia’s centenary, starts at 21.00 on 22 June with a ceremony to light the festival flame by the Gaudeamus stone in Kassitoome Valley. All 4500 singers, dancers and musicians from all over the Baltics will be taking part in the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, the participants and the audience will form a procession lit by 1000 torches that heads for Kaarsilla Bridge on the banks of the Emajõgi River. There the festival will open with a large-scale performance starting at 23:00, showcasing the best songs from Carl Orff’s famed Carmina Burana. The audience is sure to be wowed by the performance, which will combine dance, amazing costumes, acrobatics, full sets and lighting, water and pyro effects. Estonia’s foremost sound, lighting and video artists have been involved in the performance.

“Where student life’s concerned, Carmina Burana is primal,” said conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, who will be leading the performance. “It’s all about energy, about rhythm, about the exaltation derived from songs. The music will be heard on both sides of the river, but the performance won’t just be about what you hear, but what you see as well. In addition to the music there’ll be a strong visual element to the performance – one I myself haven’t seen yet, so I’m looking forward to it enormously!”

Director Mart Koldits promises a symphonic spectacular with action taking place on the banks of the river, on the river itself and also on Kaarsilla Bridge. The legendary but sadly now defunct Atlantic night club will also be brought into play. “We’ve been able to include it in a really clever way, since it’s linked to the overall theme,” Koldits explained. “Tartu’s the cradle of student life in Estonia, after all – it’s where they start living independent lives, and of course partying! The performance will be taking place in front of Atlantic, inside it and around it.”

The director says that although a large audience is anticipated and the banks of the Emajõgi River are not particularly wide, those coming along to watch needn’t worry that they will miss anything important. “Atlantis has huge windows, which we’ll be making the most of, and cameras and large screens will help us keep everything covered,” he said. “It promises to be a really powerful symphonic open-air event. Don’t miss it!”

The texts of Carmina Burana are verses dating from the 13th century. Written in Latin and High German by German students and rebellious scholars, they reflect on the fickleness of fate and the joys that earthly life brings. It is also the most frequently performed cantata in the world, speaking as much to audiences today as ever.

Under conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, the best songs from the cantata will be performed by the Academic Women’s Choir of the University of Tartu, the Tartu Academic Men’s Choir, the Chamber Choir of the University of Tartu, the University of Tartu Symphony Orchestra, the Tallinn University Symphony Orchestra and the Academic Women’s Choir of Tallinn University of Technology. The opening ceremony is being staged by Mart Koldits, with fire sculptures by Tiiu Kirsipuu, music directed by Edmar Tuul, videos by Aljona Movko, lighting by Ringo Muhhin and stage direction by Indrek Leht. The opening ceremony is free of charge for anyone interested.

Gaudeamus is taking place from 22-24 June, bringing together light art, music, choral singing and dance in a special performance the likes of which have never been staged before in Tartu. The festival forms part of the programme of events celebrating Estonia’s centenary. The project is being supported by Estonia 100, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Culture, the City of Tartu, the Rectors Conference, the University of Tartu, the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the Estonian National Museum.

Photographic material can be found HERE.

For further information please contact:
Meelika Hirmo
Director of Communications, Gaudeamus 2018
Mobile: +372 50 41 258

Photo: Archive of the Tartu Academic Male Choir