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The first opera of internationally re-known Latvian composer Arturs Maskats ‘Valentina’ celebrates a cultural legend – film historian Valentina Freimane. Opera reveals dramatic pages of national chronicle of the years 1939 to 1944, which are remarkably mementos for the history and culture of the state and for the varied ethnicities living in Latvia. Valentina Freimane’s childhood was divided between Riga and Berlin where her father worked as an attorney for UFA film-studios and her mother was an enchanting society lady entertaining the elite of the cinema world the family virtually lived in under their roof. On their return to Riga, future film historian’s intelligentsia family is surprised by the Holocaust unprepared. It claims lives of Valentina’s parents and husband, and the young woman is forced to hide from authorities till the end of the war. Today, Valentina Freimane lives and works in Berlin as well as in Riga.

‘Valentina Freimane’s life story is inextricably inter-twined with events of Latvian and European history opening for the eye a panoramic view of the era in all its richness of color and in all its contradictions. The most dramatic moments of Valentina’s life have coincided with the notable events of the XX century history: the loss of independence of Latvia when an enormous spiritual force was required in order to survive physically and morally; however, our opera is more than just about politics: a love story and deep feelings shoot through all of its events,’ says Arturs Maskats.

Conductor: Modestas Pitrenas