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World-renowned opera stars to grace Varaždinske Toplice’s magnificent archaeological site

International opera stars coming to Varaždinske Toplice 

International opera stars coming to Varaždinske Toplice  (Photo: Press/Varaždinske Toplice)

Cultural tourism is one of the main development directions of Varazdin Toplice.

The archaeological site of Aquae Iasae in the small northern Croatian town of Varaždinske Toplice, will transform into a grand, mystical stage under the stars next weekend (8th – 10th September). 

The three-day opera festival, NOCTES Aquae Iasae, will take place for the third time at this picturesque location, featuring the powerful voices of opera singers who have graced the most renowned stages worldwide. 

The former Roman baths are one of the most significant and largest archaeological sites in Croatia, ranking among the top 20 archaeological sites in the country and the largest archaeological site in the continental part of Croatia.

The festival opens on Friday at 7:00 PM with Gianfranco Pappalardo Fiumara, a pianist who has performed on prestigious world stages such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Teatro “Alla Scala” in Milan, St. Albans Church in London, Theatre In in Montreal, and Japan. 

Varaždinske Toplice

Gianfranco Pappalardo Fiumara (Photo: Press)

He recently received the prestigious Sorbonne Grand Prix Excellente award for his successful career and contribution to the arts. Gianfranco will perform a recital featuring works by J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, A. Salieri, V. Bellini, S. Thalberg, F. Liszt, and L. van Beethoven.

On Saturday evening, Stjepan Gerić, a young pianist from Varaždinske Toplice, will showcase his musical talent. With numerous domestic and international awards to his name and a student at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, he will perform compositions by Chopin, Haydn, Beethoven, and Skryabin. A bright future on the world’s stages awaits him.

Varaždinske Toplice

Stjepan Gerić (Photo: Press)

The third day of the festival presents a concert titled “Gianfranco & Friends.” Captivating operetta arias by Puccini, Verdi, Bizet, and other composers, sprinkled with humor and romantic entanglements, promise to be a delightful experience. 

Varaždinske Toplice

Roberto Cresca Photo: Press)

Joining Gianfranco are opera singers and festival guests from Italy, Alessio Quaresima (baritone) and Roberto Cresca (tenor), as well as opera vocalists Jelena Štefanić (soprano), Martina Tomčić (mezzo-soprano), Sofija Cingula (mezzo-soprano), and the young star from Macedonia, Eva Zhivkovska, whose vocal range spans 3 octaves and has already conquered numerous European stages.

Varaždinske Toplice

Eva Zhivkovska (Photo: Press)

The festival’s conceptual initiator, opera singer Jelena Štefanić, recalled how the festival began:

“The story of this festival started three years ago. In that first year, when I performed with Martina Tomčić and Maestro Pavle Dešpalj on the piano, we were all surprised because about three hundred people attended. The first two editions, I remind you, lasted only one day, and this year we ambitiously decided to extend it to three days. We are taking small but sure steps,” Štefanić said. She added that the desire of all the organisers, including herself, is for the space of the archaeological site in Varaždinske Toplice to become an opera stage.

Varaždinske Toplice

Sofia Cingula (Photo: Press)

“By organising the festival, we are creating a new cultural tourism product that adds value to the local community and contributes to the development of Varaždinske Toplice as a destination. Our goal is to offer high-quality program content for year-round tourism by blending high culture in the form of the musical art of renowned artists from world stages with the exceptional importance and beauty of preserved and presented archaeological heritage. We aim to make this festival a meeting place for opera and culture enthusiasts, recognisable in this part of Europe for the significance and beauty of our preserved archaeological heritage,” emphasised Lana Husnjak, director of the Varaždinske Toplice Tourist Board.

Varaždinske Toplice

Martina Tomić, Lana Husnjak, Jelena Štefanić (Photo: Press)

For details on the program and additional information, please visit: www.visit-toplice.com

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