Below is a list of a collection of great art festivals and events in central and eastern Europe throughout the summer and into the fall, across five countries: Russia, Germany, Slovakia, Turkey and France.
St. Petersburg Russia
New Mariinsky Theatre
In May, conductor Valery Gergiev will mark his 25th year at the helm of St Petersburg’s historic ballet and opera company by unveiling a brand new theatre, the Mariinsky II. The opening weekend, 2-4 May, features several gala shows, and the Mariinsky’s annual Stars of the White Nights festival runs from 24 May to 14 July, with performances almost daily.
Tanz im August
Germany’s largest dance festival takes place in Berlin every August. There will be performances from the biggest names in contemporary dance in Germany. Last year for example the Indian kathak-trained Akram Khan from the UK performed.
• August, see tanzimaugust.de
International Literature Festival
Germans take their literary events seriously-writers are often introduced by eminent “moderators” more interested in showing off than hearing from the authors in question. But don’t let that put you off-this shindig is a key event in the Berlin cultural year, with an admirably international outlook.
• 4-14 September, literaturfestival.com
International Jazz Festival
Slovakia’s second city is Europe’s other 2013 capital of culture, and music is one of the most enticing strands in the city’s year-long cultural calendar. As well as this jazz festival, celebrating its 17th birthday, there’s also a showcase of traditional Slovakian folk music in June, and a series of classical concerts from May to November.
• October, kosice2013.sk
Festival of Central European Theatres
Theatre groups from across Slovakia and beyond will perform in the Košice State Theatre and in a specially built stage on the city’s main street.
• 5-9 September, kosice2013.sk
Baltic House International Theatre Festival
This theatre has its origins in the Stalin-era Komsomol State Theatre. Renamed in the 1990s, it’s a major training ground for experimental Russian directors and performers – and each October, it throws open its doors to visiting productions from all over Russia and the Baltic.
• 9-20 October, baltic-house.ru
This event stands alongside those held in Venice, São Paulo and Sydney as one of the world’s most prestigious contemporary art showcases. Curator Fulya Erdemci’s theme for 2013 is “the notion of the public domain as a political forum”. Make of that what you will, but there’s bound to be something worth looking at.
• 14 September-10 November, 13b.iksv.org/en
Cinema en Plein Air
Each July, Parc de la Villette, in the north-east of the city, hosts a series of outdoor cinema screenings. Don’t expect to catch a Hollywood blockbuster, though: this is strictly arthouse fare, with a firm emphasis on French auteurs. Animation and short films also usually feature, though the dates and programme for this year haven’t yet been finalized.
• 25 July-26 August, villette.com/fr
The Angel of the Odd: Dark Romanticism
Proving there’s more to romanticism in art than pre-Raphaelite redheads and twee landscapes, the Musée d’Orsay is mounting a major exhibition this spring examining the movement’s macabre side. France’s own Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Géricault will be shown alongside Francisco de Goya and Max Ernst.
• 5 March-9 June, musee-orsay.fr
Photo credit: Baltic Circle.fi.