The Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc hosts the ceremonial part of the ECoC opening, with short music and stage performances and welcome speeches.

In the late afternoon, the ceremonial part of the ECoC opening will be held in the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc.

The programme includes short music and stage performances and welcome speeches, attended by high-ranking officials from Europe and Croatia – representatives of the EU Commission, ministers of culture of European countries, representatives of previous and future European Capitals of Culture, ambassadors, the diplomatic corps and more.

This part of the programme features the Rijeka Putokazi, Mr.Lee & IvaneSky, Diana Haller, members of the CNT Ballet Ensemble, Kristina Kolar, Robert Kolar, Domagoj Dorotić, Rijeka Opera Choir, Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, a string quartet of musicians from the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, and musicians that are part of the Rijeka super band Ri-Val.

The poet Moya Cannon (reciting the poem Song of Imbolc) and harpist Kathleen Loughnane (accompaniment on the Irish harp) are arriving from Galway to perform as part of the programme. The poem Song of Imbolc was specially written for the spring portion of the Galway 2020 programme and will be performed live in Rijeka for the first time.

As part of the programme, speeches will be delivered by the Rijeka 2020 Company Director, the Mayor of Rijeka, the Prefect of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Minister of Culture of Republic of Croatia.

Also, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel will address the audience via video message and the Vice-President of the European Commission for Demography and Democracy Dubravka Šuica will deliver a speech and present the Mayor of Rijeka with a European Capital of Culture plaque and Melina Mercouri plaque awarded by the European Union for an extraordinarily prepared programme.

Upon the completion of the ceremonial portion of the evening, the dignitaries will also attend the central opening programme in the Rijeka Port.