ECoC Rijeka: when the sun goes down

Written by
Marc Rowlands

With over 70 events happening across the city, in over 30 different locations, every part of Rijeka city centre has something vying for your attention on its inauguration day.

Rijeka at dusk © Marc Rowlands

Midday saw an official humanitarian action event at which the homeless were fed in tents by volunteers from the 2020 organisation. Shortly afterwards, live music could be heard rising from all corners of the centre. Students from the Ivan Matetić Ronjgov Music School offered accordion, choral and classical ensemble music at the Principij Gallery before Vanja Posavec took over with wondrous classical guitar.

Kantriders © Marc Rowlands

Over by King's Caffe Food Pub, next to HNK Ivan Zajc Rijeka, the beers were flowing before noon, as were the uniquely Istrian sounds of the band Kantriders. Although playing mainly covers, this quartet entertained a large audience so proficiently that you could tell they had done so a hundred times before - dropping the musical accompaniment to allow the singing audience to take the lead, ecstatic whistles like those of a football terrace resounded when they finally brought the backing back. Joyous!

Broda © Adriana Karuza

More music from Damir Martinovic aka Let 3's Mrle and his wife, Ivanka Mazurkijević, as Mr.Lee & IvaneSky was performed at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc Rijeka, alongside hometown opera star Diana Haller and others at the day's official opening in front of a packed audience of dignitaries. A stark alternative were the thunderous troupe of Rijeka drummers who played outdoors, atop the city's Robna Kuca. Their rhythms could be heard across half the city.

The Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc Rijeka © Marc Rowlands

As the sun begins to set (not that we can see it, hidden behind today's thick clouds), dancers and street musicians are moving inside. But, by the waterside, at the Port of Rijeka, excitement is building for the huge centrepiece event of the day, the Opera Industriale (main photo) which, with any luck, you will be able to live stream from the Time Out Croatia website.

Rijeka kaleidoscope © Adriana Karuza

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