The Latvian National Opera House stands in the very centre of Rīga, on the canal, and is home to both the National Opera and the National Ballet. Numerous world-famous artists started their career on its stage, among them Andris Nelsons, Elīna Garanča, Kristīne Opolais, Egils Siliņš and Aleksandrs Antoņenko. The Opera House puts on nearly 200 productions per season with around six of them new. It also hosts the annual Riga Opera Festival, highly popular with international guests.
Housed in an old disused factory, this art centre has a very unique feel of living history in a modern setting. Home to artist studios, a concert hall, a stunning roof terrace, this venue likes to experiment with genres of the arts, mixing poetry with dance, theatre with music, and much, much more. The art centre is run by artists themselves, thus staying spontaneous, unpredictable and exciting.
Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration
Undoubtedly the biggest cultural event on the busy Latvian cultural calendar, the Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration has taken place every five years since 1873. The celebration brings together around 40,000 participants in Rīga – choir singers, dancers, orchestral musicians, small music ensembles – from the largest cities and the smallest rural villages throughout Latvia, as well as from diaspora communities all over the world. The celebration is recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
For over a decade now Rīga is also the home of the unique music and film festival Sound Forest. This festival celebrates the contemporary, the new, the non-traditional, controversial and even shocking in the music and film world. It aims to question the notions, break the barriers of the expected, introduce new and unexpected experiences, refresh people’s perspectives, and pull people out of their comfort zones. The festival does not focus on a certain musical genre or category, but rather on a new language of sound, and sound artists seeking new perspectives.