LEP-ESTO 2013 Opening Gala to Showcase The Finest Among the Fine Arts of Estonia
Eestlased USAs 28 Jun 2013  EWR
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Estonian National Ballet to Make Its North American Debut in a Piece Commissioned for the Gala

San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts will be the setting for a unique and powerful evening of Estonian music and ballet the evening of Friday, June 28, 2013 at the Opening Gala of LEP-ESTO 2013.

The three-hour ceremony, starting at 7:00 pm, launches an event-packedfour day festival with performances by the Estonian National Ballet, in its first-ever North American appearance, the World-renowned pianist, Hando Nahkur, and the sublime voice of Estonia’s Hanna-Liina Võsa, a rising star on the American stage and screen. Rounding out the eclectic musical palette of the opening ceremony, the Estonian Youth Wind Orchestra, an ensemble of 55 wind, brass and percussion musicians, young virtuosos aged 15 to 25 from throughout Estonia, will perform during the colorful Flag Ceremony.

Celebrated concurrently for the first time, the World Estonian Festival, ESTO joins with Lääneraniku Eesti Päevad (LEP), the West Coast Estonian Festival, for LEP-ESTO 2013. In addition to performances of World Class Estonian artists at the Opening Gala, LEP-ESTO offers a varied slate of events, including an important technology business conference “iEstonia” in the Silicon Valley, a film festival premiering the latest work by Jim and Maureen Tusty (Directors of “The Singing Revolution”), the traditional Laulupidu song festival and a range of cultural-related seminars (see www.lep-esto2013.com for a complete program of events).

The first-ever performance of the Estonian National Ballet (ENB) in North America fittingly shall take place in San Francisco, the city possessing the oldest, and perhaps most prestigious, professional ballet company in the United States. Born in Viljandi, Estonia, Tiit Helimets has been a principal dancer with the SF Ballet for the past nine years and is the key mover in bringing eleven dancers from the Estonian National Ballet to LEP-ESTO — Tiit will introduce the ENB and perform with them at the Opening Gala. The Company will perform three pieces, “Time”, “Swan Lake” and “Othello. The first piece, “Time” has been choreographed especially for the event. The performance is truly unique in the 60 year history of the festival and promises an unforgettable experience.

The remarkable caliber of musical talent at the Opening Gala of LEP-ESTO s underscored by the presence of World-renowned Estonian pianist, Hando Nahkur, and actress and Broadway star, Hanna-Liina Võsa, who has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “clarion-voiced singer who is going places.” Hando Nahkur, winner of multiple international piano competitions and considered one of Estonia’s most outstanding artists, has garnered outstanding reviews in performance with many of the world’s leading orchestras and as a soloist and arranger of classic pop songs for keyboard. At the Opening Gala, Hando will perform both as a soloist and accompanied by Hanna-Liina Võsa.

Hanna-Liina Võsa, well known to Estonian television and stage, is a 2001 graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy on Broadway and was selected to sing the lead role of Sandy in the traveling production of the musical, “Grease”, in which she has given over 600 performances in 49 U.S. states and five countries. Currently residing in New York, Hanna-Liina is increasingly a regular on American TV and has appeared on the show “Law and Order” with guest actress, Sharon Stone.

The Opening Gala starts at 7:00 pm with the Flag Ceremony and national anthems of the United States and Estonia, played by the Estonian Youth Wind Orchestra. The Orchestra, under the supervision of Maestro Aavo Ots, is one of Estonia’s most accomplished youth orchestra’s and has won numerous awards accolades at the international level. The Estonian Youth Wind Orchestra adds yet greater breadth to an evening rich in virtuoso musical performance.

Prior to the Opening Gala, attendees are invited to attend the festival EXPO in the reception area, featuring a bewitching performance by the master Illusionist, Jürgen Veber. Attendees may stroll among the displays of Estonian culture and visit with leading companies and organizations from Estonia, among them SAKU Beer, the Estonian Tourism Board and leading Estonian designers.

The setting for the Opening Gala of LEP-ESTO 2013, San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, is one of the City’s most beloved and graceful landmarks, built as part of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition.

Tickets for the event may be purchased at the event website, at www.LEP-ESTO2013.com, or at the box office the afternoon of the event.
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