The Viva Musica Festival, since its inception in 2005, has developed into the biggest international summer music festival in Bratislava, offering the very best in classical, jazz and world music. Held every July, Viva Musica aims to present a full programme which showcases unusual and original pieces, often classical pieces with a modern touch, performed in the open air in the superb surroundings of this historic city centre.
Most of the concerts of Viva Musica – originally known as ‘The Musical gardens of Bratislava’ – take place in and around the city’s main square, Hlavné Námestie, or in the courtyard of St John of Nepomuk, the old Town Hall. In recent years, performers have included Russian cellist Tatjana Vassiljeva, the Greek soprano Elly Paspala, world renowned jazz artist Kyle Eastwood, the fabulous French saxophonists Sax Machine, Argentinian songstress Sandra Rumolino, and the very best Slovakian musicians and singers. The eighty strong Festival Orchestra has developed its own formidable reputation in just five short years.
Another of the enticing aspects of this particular summer festival is that many of the events are completely free of charge and even those that do require payment are very reasonably priced. Viva Musica is also keen that the evening performances are as relaxed and informal as possible, thus doing away with the necessity of packing dinner jackets and ball gowns! From gypsy violinists to formal bell-canto arias and jazz arrangements of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, this a festival full of diversity.
Bratislava, on the banks of the Danube, is, despite being Slovakia’s capital city, home to less than half a million people. It has an old town full of historical charm but also boasts some highly impressive more modern constructions. Foremost amongst these is the fabulous bridge across the Danube, Nový Most (the New Bridge), which has a uniquely designed restaurant at its highest point. People tend to be divided into two very distinct camps about the Kamzík Television Tower, which also has its own revolving restaurant and viewing platform. This is one of those constructions you will either love or loathe. The most notable of its older buildings is probably the castle perched 300 feet above the river.
Famous for being half of the answer to a popular quiz question – it and Vienna are, at 37 miles, Europe’s closest capital cities – Bratislava is an easy city to reach. There is a brand new motorway to Vienna and rail connections are excellent. The airport, just 5-6 miles outside the city, has regular summer connections with British airports.
Bratislava is a lovely place to visit in the summer months, having an almost Mediterranean atmosphere with people enjoying an outdoor culture. Viva Musica fits perfectly into this relaxed ambience, with its broad, eclectic and top class programme of quality musical presentations. Once actual dates of the festival are confirmed they appear on the official website together with the full programme of concerts.