Splitsko Ljeto or the Split Summer Festival is a music/theater festival that takes place every July and August in the city of Split. It starts in mid-July and ends in mid-August, effectively lasting for a month. The festival encapsulates Drama Theater, Opera, Ballet and various concerts. It is the largest and oldest festival of its kind in Croatia alongside the Dubrovnik Summer Games festival. The Festival was founded and is owned and managed by the city of Split.
The first edition of the Split Summer Festival took place in 1952. It was opened by a renowned Croatian Opera called ‘’Ero s onoga svijeta’’ by the author Jakov Gotovac. Over the years Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘’Aida’’ has become the Festival’s trademark. The opera takes place at the Peristyle of the Diocletian Palace and uses an authentic Sphinx from the era of Thutmose the Third.
Split Summer Festival takes place in an open historically significant location such as the Peristyle of the Diocletian Palace, basements of the Diocletian Palace, Prokurative, Meštrović Gallery, Meštrović’s Crikvine-Kaštelac, Carrarina’s Meadow, Sutipan etc. In the last thirty years, other smaller town near Split were also included in the Festival’s locations. Some of them are Trogir, Starigrad, Vis, Supetar, Sinj etc.
Split Theatre and the Split Philharmonic are the carriers of the Split Summer Festival but in addition to them, the Festival has seen a lot of world famous theater troupes and musicians. Some of the most notable ones to visit were: Lovro von Matačić, Ernst Märzendorfer, Kurt Adler, Božidar Violić, Martina Arroyo, Vladimir Habunek, Lucilla Udovich, Eleanor Steber and much more.
A regional journal called Slobodna Dalmacija awards an award called Judita. Judita is awarded to the best musical and drama act of the ongoing Festival and represents a highly esteemed honor due to the Festival’s exemplary reputation and long lasting tradition and history.
In addition to the standard program of the Split Summer Festival, there are numerous art painting exhibits, sculptor exhibits, photography exhibits etc. that add to the charm, experience, and content of the Festival.
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