Estonia’s first opera festival
The history of Kuressaare Opera Festival (artistic director Ludmilla Toon) dates to 1999. Since 2008, Saaremaa Opera Festival has been organised by Eesti Kontsert, the artistic director of the festival is Arne Mikk. The central venue of the festival is a well-known and valued landmark situated in Western Estonia, the medieval Kuressaare Episcopal Castle, whose garden and ancient walls are home to the summertime opera hall with a capacity of approximately 2000 viewers. The festival has cooperated with both Estonian opera houses (Vanemuine (2009, 2010, 2012) and the Estonian National Opera (2008, 2010, 2011)), as well as with opera houses from all over the world.
Neeme Järvi, Eri Klas, José Cura, Karita Mattila, Paata Burchuladze, Soile Isokoski, Lilli Paasikivi, Ain Anger, Matti Salminen, Jaakko Ryhänen, Jorma Hynninen, Annely Peebo and many other beloved musicians have performed at the Saaremaa Opera Festival. Saaremaa Opera Festival has seen the best productions of featured guest theatres such as Black American Opera (USA, 2008), Latvian National Opera (2009), Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre (2010), Ankara State Opera and Ballet Theatre (2011), Helikon Opera Theatre (2012), Tbilisi, Khuthaisi and Bathum opera theatres (Georgia, 2013), Ukrainian National Opera (2014), Teatro di Milano (Italy, 2015), Wrocław Opera Theatre (Poland, 2016), Krefeld-Mönchengladbach Opera Theatre (Germany, 2017), Shanghai Opera Theatre and Hungarian State Opera (2018), Moscow Helikon Opera Theatre (2019), St. Petersburg Chamber Opera (2021), Silesian Opera Theatre in Bytom (2022) and Maria Bieșu National Opera and Ballet Theatre from Moldova (2023).
The main artist of 2024 is the Òpera Catalunya.