The 7th Vana Tallinn Gala was held at the Estonia National Opera (ENO) on the evening of Saturday 24 August and dedicated to the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT). EAMT is also marking its 100th anniversary this year. Some of the best known operatic arias were performed by young soloists and their teachers, accompanied by the ENO orchestra and choir.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the EAMT is the cornerstone of Estonian culture,” said ENO director Aivar Mäe. “It’s got such standing, and its students are taught by true masters of their arts. That is why it has consistently produced future legends of Estonian stage and music.”
The talented youngsters from the EAMT were warmly received by the audience at the gala. Performing the works of such greats as Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Wagner and Rimski-Korsakov were mezzo-soprano Helen Lepalaan, tenor Juhan Tralla, baritone Taavi Tampuu, mezzo-soprano Karis Trass, oboist Ingely Laiv and violinist Maria Goršenina.
Renowned ENO soloists Heli Veskus (soprano), Reigo Tamm (tenor) and Raiko Raalik (bass) also performed at the gala, accompanied by the ENO orchestra under conductor Arvo Volmer.
“The academy’s opening ceremony took place right here at the ENO a hundred years ago, and the ties between the two have remained unbroken ever since,” Mäe explained. “That’s what the Vana Tallinn Gala is designed to celebrate – it’s a doffing of the hat to all of the students and teachers from the school, past and present.”
The gala has become a keenly anticipated annual event among opera lovers. This year it was held for the seventh time, organised by the ENO and its major sponsor Liviko. Audiences in Southern Estonia also got to experience the gala on Friday when opera classics were performed on the stage of the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu.
In addition to its sponsorship of the ENO, AS Liviko contributes to the promotion of Estonian culture by supporting the Art Museum of Estonia, the book competition of the Estonian Writers’ Union and a number of other cultural events.
Photos by Karl Arras