Česlovas Radžiūnas, Artistic Director of Chorus
Petras Paulavičius, Director of Chorus
Alfredas Celiešius, Chorus Master
Povilas Butkus, Chorus Master
Jolanta Čiurilaitė, Voice Coach
Arūnas Malikėnas, Voice Coach
Founded in 1920 to become the first professional chorus in Lithuania under Julius Starka, the Lithuanian National Opera Chorus is coeval with the theatre, making its debut in Giuseppe Verdi's “La traviata” in the same year. Lead by Česlovas Radžiūnas as its Chief Chorus Master since 1989, the chorus now comprises 80 active members, consisting of 40 female and 40 male voices. With the sizable repertoire, numbering over 60 operas, including M. Mussorgsky's “Boris Godunov“, G. Verdi's “Un ballo in maschera“, “Aida“, V. Klova's “Pilėnai“, R. Wagner's “Der fliegende Hollander“, G. Puccini's “Turandot“, etc. It performs in all current LNOBT's opera and in several ballet productions, such as Mikis Theodoraki's “Zorba the Greek” and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's “A Midsummer Night's Dream“. The chorus has appeared on the LNOBT's international tours in Chicago and Germany, performing both in opera productions and choral concerts.
Both in concert and recital, the chorus has performed a number of large-scale works, such as Giuseppe Verdi's “Requiem“, Carl Orff's “Carmina burana“, Giacomo Puccini's “Messa di gloria“, Franz Schubert's “Stabat Mater“, as well as Lithuanian premieres of Antonin Dvorak's “Requiem” and Johann Sebastian Bach's “St. Mark Passion“. It has collaborated with many Lithuania's distinguished conductors, such as Jonas Aleksa, Vytautas Viržonis, Martynas Staškus, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Juozas Domarkas, Rimas Geniušas, Julius Geniušas, Liutauras Balčiūnas, and others. In 1991, it has participated in the co-production of Amilcare Ponchielli's opera “I lituani” between the Lithuanian Opera of Chicago and the LNOBT. Its creative highlights also include concert performances of Verdi's “Nabucco” and Puccini's “Turandot” at the Summer Season in Trakai Festival. The chorus' performance of Verdi's “Requiem” on occasion of the LNOBT's 80th anniversary in 2000 was recorded and released on a CD.
In 2011 LNOBT's chorus participated in the 25th International Music Festival in Macau (China), taking part in the production of C. M. von Weber's opera "Der Freischütz" and a performance of F. Liszt's symphony "Faust" together with the Symphony Orchestra of Macau. The chorus also presented its own concert.
In September 2012 LNOBT performed during the Guangzhou Art Festival in China - here the Guangzhou opera theatre welcomed G. Puccini's opera "Madama Butterfly", one of the most beautiful productions of the LNOBT. The chorus was performing together with soloists Vytautas Juozapaitis (Sharpless), Laima Jonutytė (Suzuki), Arūnas Malikėnas (Yamadori), Rafailas Karpis (Goro) and Egidijus Dauskurdis (Bonza).
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF CHORUS
Česlovas Radžiūnas (b. 1955) graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 1977, and completed opera conducting probation programme at the Moscow Conservatory in 1984. For a short period after returning to Lithuania, Č. Radžiūnas has conducted the Symphony Orchestra of Vilnius Municipality and various amateur choirs.
In 1985 he was appointed the Associate Professor at the LAM. In the same year he began conducting the Chamber Choir of the LAM, with which he won several important prizes in Italy (Grand Prix in Goricia, 1988; 1st prize in Arezzo, 1989), France (Grand Prix in Tours, 1991) and Spain (1st prize in Tolosa, 1991).
From 1976 to 1985 he has also worked as an assistant chorus master at the LNOBT, where he subsequently became the chief chorus master in 1989. With the Opera Chorus Mr. Radžiūnas has prepared the premieres of 67 operas and 15 large-scale symphonic works, including G. Verdi’s “Requiem”, A. Dvorak’s “Requiem” (first performance in Lithuania), G. Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria”, J. S. Bach’s “St. Mark Passion” (first performance in Lithuania), F. Schubert’s “Stabat Mater”, C. Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, W. A. Mozart’s “Requiem”, H. Berlioz’s “La damnation de Faust” and others. Over 100 works were recorded for the funds of Lithuanian Radio and Television.
Together with the LNOBT, Mr. Radžiūnas took part in various international opera festivals (Finland, Italy, England), also performed in Germany, Taiwan, Holland, USA. Under the guidance of Mr. Radžiūnas, the chorus of the LNOBT performed together with such conductors as Jonas Aleksa, Gintaras Rinkevičius, Juozas Domarkas, as well as other conductors from Lithuania and abroad.
In recent years the press has praised high professional standard that the Lithuanian Opera Chorus achieved under the artistic leadership of Č. Radžiūnas.
In 1991 Česlovas Radžiūnas was the conductor at the National Song Festival of the Lithuanians living in Canada and USA. In 2001 he received a “Kristoforas” award for the production of P. Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades” at the LNOBT, while in 2005 Mr. Radžiūnas attained Lithuanian order of Merit – Knight Grand Cross. In 2011 he was also awarded the Culture and Art Prize given by the Lithuanian government. In 2013 Č. Radžiūnas was granted position of a Professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.