Regional Concert Halls
During the past few years, Latvia has become richer because of world-class acoustic regional concert halls in Cēsis, Rēzekne, Liepāja and Jūrmala.
Cēsis Concert Hall
The Cēsis Concert Hall opened its doors in May 2014, and it features concerts by top-level musicians, professional theatrical performances, art exhibitions and film screenings. It has welcomed universally renowned musicians such as Gidon Kremer, Martha Argerich, Nicolas Alstaedt, Didier Lockwood and Marko Ylonen to appear at the centre. The hall is a multifunctional building in that it also houses a music high school, premises for groups of hobbyists, and offices for the regional culture and tourism administration. A specific aspect of the hall is that it was built with local materials – wood and ceramics, but in a modern way.
The Embassy of Latgale GORS
The first modern acoustic concert hall in Latvia is found 240 km from the capital city of Rīga, in Rēzekne. The Latgale GORS Concert Hall was purpose-built as a hall with perfect acoustics, tiered seating, high-quality lights and fine in-house technical equipment. The size and versatility of the stage provide a perfect platform for a variety of events. The hall was built in 2013 and designed by architect Uldis Balodis, who says: “The character of GORS reflects the impression of the artistic nature and practical approach that is characteristic among Latgalians. It is like a kiln in which the flames of the creative spirit are manifested. The flames attract and warm up a traveller during a winter night, and GORS is a place to experience art that is always welcoming and true irrespective of whether it is large or small.” Rēzekne, incidentally, is also the hometown of the distinguished organist Iveta Apkalna.
Dzintari Concert Hall
The Dzintari Concert Hall was the first concert hall in Latvia, openings its doors in 1936. It is just 23 km from Rīga. The location was known as a concert park for the Edinburgh health resort as far back as 1897 (Dzintari was called Edinburgh until 1922). The Dzintari Concert Hall is an outstanding example of wooden architecture in Jūrmala and is part of the Latvian Cultural Canon. In 2001, the area around the concert hall was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The hall offers outstanding acoustics and harmony between music and nature on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
The Great Amber
The Great Amber Concert Hall in Liepāja is the latest symbol of culture, opening in Liepāja in 2015 and winning several important awards. The hall was designed by the architect Volker Giencke, and it received the American Architecture Prize, the European Concrete Award, the International Architecture Award as the best new architectural project, the “Architizer A+” award, and the Latvian Architecture Award, all in 2016.
The Latvian National Opera
The Latvian National Opera was built in 1863 and has been the starting point for great opera stars such as Elīna Garanča, Kristīne Opolais, Marina Rebeka, Aleksandrs Antoņenko and Egils Siliņš, as well as the world famous conductor Andris Nelsons. Richard Wagner himself served as musical director at the opera while living in Rīga, where he also began work on one of his first operas, Rienzi.
The Latvian Institute, 2016. Photos: Liepaja region Tourism information centre, Cēsis concert hall, Andrejs Vasjukevics, Dzintari Concert hall, Foto Banka