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Top model inspires young artists

WITH her high Slavic cheekbones, silky platinum hair, and legs long enough to walk her onto the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records, Slovak top model Adriana Sklenaříková Karembeu looks to many like a Greek goddess.

WITH her high Slavic cheekbones, silky platinum hair, and legs long enough to walk her onto the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records, Slovak top model Adriana Sklenaříková Karembeu looks to many like a Greek goddess.

It's therefore fitting that the blond bombshell - who's known throughout Europe for her sexy ads and marriage to French footballer Christian Karembeu - assumes the honorary title of "Festival Muse" of the Viva Musica! Festival, which takes place on Bratislava's Hviezdoslav Square from August 10 to 20.

Originally called the Musical Gardens of Bratislava, the festival is set to draw 95 international artists to a summer amphitheatre in the Old Town, where they will partake in music concerts ranging from Mozart to Gershwin, a French opera for children, masterclasses for aspiring artists and a charity auction. To top it all off, many of the concerts will be free.

For Orfeo, the association that organised it, the aim is to make Bratislava a lively, dynamic forum for music lovers of all ages, especially the young, to learn, perform and enjoy high-quality art in an open-air setting.

"Classicial concerts for young people are too often long and boring," Caroline Drlička, the marketing director of the festival, told TASR. "This festival aims to change that. These concerts will be short and sweet, and will keep everyone enraptured."

Karembeu will co-host the opening concert, which will be conducted by Israeli flutist Ariel Zuckermann, with prominent Slovak actor Marián Slovák by her side. After the festival, her gown for that evening, designed by Boris Hanečka, will be auctioned to raise money for producing operas for children.

Speaking of which, the fun continues with two performances of Robert the Pig, a French opera for children by composer Marc-Olivier Dupin, to be conducted by the talented young Slovak conductor Juraj Valčuha. Slovak television star Martin Vanek will narrate a Slovak translation, which will star Stano Slovák from the City Theatre of Brno, among other talents.

The opera concerts include a picnic for disadvantaged and abused children, organised in cooperation with the Foundation of Children of Slovakia and The Children of Danube Association, in the garden of the Presidential Palace.

But perhaps the most valuable experience for aspiring artists will be the first International Masterclasses of Bratislava, which started August 5 and run until August 13. A select group of students from around the world will be given a golden opportunity to work with six internationally respected music professionals eager to aid them in their quest to perfect their art. Upon completion of the masterclasses, the students and professors will present two free concerts for the public.

Orfeo hopes the festival inspires young people to reach their goals and not be limited by cross-cultural boundaries. That's where Karembeu comes in.

"Adriana is a prime example of a young person from Slovakia who's found success abroad, and we wanted to spotlight young artists who have become famous, yet remain connected to their homeland," Drlička said.

For more information, visit www.festival-bratislava.com

By Stefan M Hogan

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