The European Education and Culture Commissioner, Tibor Navracsics, has wished Bulgaria’s Plovdiv and Italy’s Matera success as the 2019 holders of the title European Capital of Culture.
“The programmes for Plovdiv and Matera show how these cities envisage both their own future and that of Europe, while celebrating their extraordinary centuries-old heritage,” Navracsics said.
“The European Capital of Culture initiative brings people together and highlights the role of culture in building a European identity. Both cities will help ensure a long-term impact of last year’s successful European Year of Cultural Heritage, which has demonstrated how culture can transform our cities and regions for the better.”
Plovdiv is the first-ever Bulgarian city to be chosen as European Capital of Culture.
“With a full programme under the motto ‘Together’, 2019 will bring new opportunities to the region and international visibility for the city. More than 300 projects have been organised in Plovdiv and the South Central Region of Bulgaria as well as in the cities of Varna, Sofia and Veliko Turnovo,” the European Commission said.
These activities include festivals and community-based projects structured around themes linked to the characteristic features of Plovdiv, its history, cultural heritage and challenges facing the city, the statement said.
“From discovering the Cyrillic alphabet through various exhibitions to joint theatre productions with the Western Balkans and the Roma and Turkish communities, visitors will have an array of activities to participate in.”
The opening celebrations will take place from January 11 – 13, with a series of indoor and outdoor events – including a music, light and dance performance on the evening of January 12.
Bulgaria’s Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society will attend the official opening ceremony on January 12.
The programme for Matera has been organised under the motto “Open Future”, and will have a special focus on social and cultural inclusion and collaborative innovation.
Highlights include “Ars Excavandi”, a contemporary look at the history and culture of subterranean architecture; “Re-reading Renaissance”, a journey through the artistic past of Basilicata and Apulia; and “Poetry of primes”, an exhibition on the central role of mathematics in the work of artists throughout the ages.
In co-operation with Teatro San Carlo, Matera will also stage the first open-air performance of the opera Cavalleria Rusticana.
Twenty-seven additional projects are also being developed with local creative communities and partners from across Europe.
The opening celebrations will take place on January 19 and 20 and will gather 2000 musicians from all the villages of the Basilicata region and many other parts of Europe.
Commissioner Navracsicswill attend the official opening ceremony on January 19.
(Photo: European Commission)