ENRICHING Bratislava’s cultural life for 10 years, the Viva Musica! Festival is a unique summer open-air festival that presents classical music in a non-traditional way, thereby busting notions held by some that the genre is elitist and dull.

In 2014, Viva Musica! is merging with the Summer of Culture Festival Bratislava and Castle Festivities 2014 and Summer Shakespearian Plays. This collaboration will kick off with a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on June 21 that combines Shakespeare’s classic comedy with music by German composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, performed by the Slovak Philharmonic and conducted by Leoš Svárovský. The performance takes place at 20:30 in the Main Square and is free for all.

The festival continues the following day with Mozart’s Magic Flute, as played by the National Puppet Theatre from Prague in the courtyard of the Primate’s Palace at 17:00. In the evening a huge orchestra consisting of talented children from all over Slovakia will join the Virtuoso project to perform music conducted by Igor Dohovič, again in the Main Square.

The contemporary classical Quasars Ensemble will be joined by Dalibor Karvay on violin to play works by Alexandre Tansman, Maurice Ravel, Franz Waxman, Alexander Moyzes and Paul Hindemith on June 24 at 20:00 in the Old Market Hall. Tickets cost €19.

The Old Market Hall will witness the following day a unique project with Spanish counter-tenor Xavier Sabata, who selected the “negative heroes” within the “Händl: Bad Guys” concept, illustrating that Baroque opera need not only embody noble ideals and moral virtues.

In Bratislava he will sing for the first time with the Il Pomo d’Oro ensemble, led by violinist and conductor Riccardo Minasi, who specialises in historically-informed interpretations of early music on period instruments.

Underground goes classic

Underground Goes Classic is a concert merging rock band Korben Dallas with the Orchestra Viva Musica!, conducted by Braňo Kostka, on June 26 at 20:00 in the Old Market Hall (tickets cost €19–€29).

The same venue will present on the next day the classic 1922 German vampire film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens by F. W. Murnau, accompanied by the music of Slovak composer Vladislav ‘Slnko’ Šarišský, made specifically for the film. Tickets cost €15.

The concluding concert of the whole festival is devoted to opera, with renowned Slovak singers (Adriana Kučerová, Jana Kurucová, Miroslav Dvorský, Dalibor Jenis and Štefan Kocán) performing arias by Verdi, Bizet, Rossini and Puccini, with the Orchestra Viva Musica! led by Marián Leginus. The concert, called Viva Opera!, takes place on June 28 at 20:00 at Bratislava Castle, and tickets cost €19-€59.