On Thursday, December 15, 2005, at 8.00pm, the Croatian Baroque Ensemble performed for the first time in St. James’ parish church in Medjugorje. The repertoire included a selection from the Italian baroque programme: Concerti Grossi by Corelli, Torelli and Manfredini, Legrenzi’s motet “O Dilectissime Jesu”, as well as Scarlatti’s cantata for soprano and strings «O Di Betlemme Altera». This concert was organised by the Medjugorje Parish with the assistance of the Croatian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Fr. Ivan Sesar, pastor, greeted the musicians and the faithful on behalf of the Parish. Krunoslav Cigoj, counsellor for culture and education at the Croatian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke to the audience on behalf of the Embassy. He emphasised that the Croatian Baroque Ensemble has gained noteriety in Croatia and all over Europe, and that this guest performance was an exceptional event. The Medjugorje audience, which greeted the musicians with an extended standing ovation, has recognised this.
Krunoslav Cigoj said: “This is not an ordinary event. The Croatian Baroque Ensemble is a special guest in Medjugorje. We have noticed how this music has touched the audience. It is not given to each and every one to feel familiar with the baroque style, which requires a certain concentration, a certain relaxation and the permission of the spirit to accept it, because this music is totally spiritual. The very coming to the holy temple in this environment helps people to be open to this style.”
Laura Vadjon, violin and artistic director said: “This is the first guest performance of the Croatian Baroque Ensemble in Medjugorje. We are particularly pleased, because this is a holy place, which fills us with good energy, and I am especially glad that we are here just before Christmas, when the whole atmosphere is special. Our concert was inspired by this place and by the numerous faithful from all over the world who attended tonight. Before our concert, there was Adoration and we heard singing in different languages. This is a unique atmosphere. We are glad that the audience was touched. When the audience reacts in this way, we are especially pleased. It was really beautiful and I hope that it will happen again!”
Ivana Kladarin, soprano, said: “I am delighted by this performance here, because I feel very attached to Medjugorje, with heart and soul. This concert was like a prayer for me, my gift to Mary for Christmas. As you have seen, this is an ensemble specialised in an ancient form of playing, another way of singing. We are doing this for about 5 years now, and we perform in Croatia and abroad. Many people here tonight were pleased, and I am very happy. I was born in Tuzla, in Bosnia, and I am emotionally attached to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I know that these kinds of concerts are very rare here, as financial resources are scarce, and some good will is also missing, but I can see that there are people who are hungry for this type of musical event. I hope that, in the future, we shall come here more often and also to other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The Christmas Concert given by the Croatian Baroque Ensemble was transmitted live by Radio "Mir" Medjugorje.