The celebrated Russian violinist and orchestra conductor Vladimir Spivakov opened his 16th international music festival in the eastern French city of Colmar. The American soprano Jessie Normal will be the highlight of this year's Colmar festival, its founder and artistic director said in a RIA interview. The diva, who has graced the most prestigious opera venues of Paris, London, Vienna and New York, will now three recitals at Colmar, to perform pieces by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Georges Bizet, Camille Saint-Saens, and George Gershwin.
In one of her recitals, Ms. Norman will appear on stage together with Spivakov's Virtuoses de Moscou chamber music ensemble, which is returning to Colmar after four-year absence. The group is to take part in three other concerts here this time around, including the opening gala.
The Virtuoses de Moscou is a Colmar regular whereas Russia's National Philharmonic Orchestra, also led by Mr. Spivakov, will perform at the festival for the first time this year. Two of its four appearances will be together with Ms. Norman.
The Colmar festival's other participants will include, among others, a chamber orchestra from Stuttgart, a Paris-based orchestra led by the American conductor John Nelson, and Viktor Popov's children's choir from Moscow. Young musicians from among the Spivakov Foundation's proteges will also take part in the festival.
A total twenty-four music events are scheduled within this year's Colmar festival, to close on July 14, Bastille Day. They will feature music by classical composers, such as Antonio Vivaldi, Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Mikhail Glinka, and Serge Rachmaninoff, as well as pieces by contemporary musicians, like Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and John Adams.
Since it was founded fifteen years ago, the Colmar festival has evolved into a high-profile international music event. "Classical music is not a show for mass audiences, but we are used to full houses. This year, the tickets are sold out and the hotels are packed yet again," Mr. Spivakov said.
Timed to coincide with the festival is the unveiling of a copy of the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's most famous work-the Statue of Liberty. Bartholdi is a Colmar native, and this year marks the centenary of his death. The unveiling ceremony will take place on July 4, U.S. Independence Day, Mr. Spivakov announced.