1. The First to Leave

    Toms Auniņš, Austra Hauks, Kārlis Krūmiņš, Epp Kubu, Kristina Norman, Karolin Poska, Valters Sīlis, Marija Bērziņa, Chamber Choir Collegium Musicale, Joanna Kalm & Limitless Dance Company  


    19:30 pm

    Kanuti Gildi SAAL

    At the core of the LAT.EST festivals in Riga and in Tallinn is the distinctive piece about Livonians called “The First to Leave“. Even though the attitude towards Livonians is different in each country, this nation has played an important role in the context of statehood and different ideologies governing Latvia and Estonia. The fate of Livonians stands as a reminder about the impermanent nature of all things in the world and a warning that disappearance of a small nation can be quick and imminent. The performance takes a closer look at the role of each country’s politics in the life of Livonians and what does it mean to be a Livonian today. Eventually, it asks a question: Is the disappearance really a tragedy? 

    “Livonian heritage” is both a title of Veljo Tormis' cycle of choir pieces, but as well an existential theme. To get a sense of it, a Latvian-Estonian artists' collective invites the audience to join them on a journey through sublimely beautiful places of nature, breath-taking soundscapes, prosaic sceneries of hamlets and cities, and through the life-stories that are dag out from beneath the layers of archive dust to be read in the warmth of lamplight. These stories invite you to think what does “Livonian heritage” actually mean, who bequeathed it and who appropriated it. 

    Under the flag of cultural security, a part of the Latvian and the Estonian society today is drifting in the direction of radical conservatism. But the fear of extinction is not new among the small nations at the Baltic coast. In the first period of national independence, the Latvian state was busy unifying the three main Latvian tribes and inventing a single Latvian language and culture. Livonians who were very few were supposed to melt in. The young Estonian nation was searching for a foothold for their identity in belonging to the large family of Finno-Ugric people. It was assumed in Estonia that smaller Finno-Ugric tribes would take on the mission to stay close-to-nature and remain authentic in their ways of life and thus preserve the Finno-Ugric cultural roots of Estonians who were now a modernized nation. What did Livonian people want? Today it's only the archives that can help us guess what the answer could be. In this part of the Baltic coast, Livonians were the first small ethnicity to leave.

    More information: https://saal.ee/en/performance/5230

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