2013–2014 Season of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre presented its 2013-2014 Season. From September to May the theatre shall present 3 opera and 2 ballet premieres, with the premiere of Onutė Narbutaitė’s new opera “Cornet” as the main highlight of the season. There are 5 concerts being planned, one of which is a concert of the London Symphony Orchestra together with the famous violinist Leonidas Kavakos. LNOBT shall also organize an exclusive “Giuseppe Verdi’s Week”, dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the genius Italian composer, present performances dedicated to prominent soloists, comebacks of Lithuanian stars who are enjoying successful careers abroad and introduce young opera and ballet soloists.
According to LNOBT’s general manager Gintautas Kėvišas, “We are welcoming the upcoming season with cautious optimism. There are some obvious signs that the situation is improving – financial stability allows us to plan intensive artistic programmes and partnerships on an international level.” There shall be 125 performances shown alongside premieres. Deputy general manager for marketing and artistic affairs Laima Vilimienė claimed that “during the last 5 months the average attendance of the theatre was 95% – it is a very good rate”.
During the next season the LNOBT shall introduce five major premieres and one additional project. “We are launching our new season with Verdi’s ‘ERNANI’, produced for the first time in Lithuania. Authors of the production are director Jean-Claude Berutti and conductor Giampaolo Bisanti. ‘ERNANI’ is also going to give start to the celebratory Giuseppe Verdi’s week, dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the composer,” – said Kėvišas. Other conductors of “ERNANI” include Martynas Staškus and Dainius Pavilionis.
On 4-10 October, during Giuseppe Verdi’s week, theatregoers will also have a possibility to see “Otello”, “La TRAVIATA” and the final performance of “Rigoletto”. The performance of “Otello” is going to be dedicated to Virgilijus Noreika – on that evening he’s going to be awarded the LNOBT Soloist Emeritus title. According to Gintautas Kėvišas, “Virgilijus Noreika symbolizes an entire epoch – he dedicated his whole life to the theatre and is still singing Otello’s death scene”.
On 29 November we plan to welcome new ballet “Carmen”, set to the music of Georges Bizet. Director of LNOBT’s ballet company Rūta Butvilienė claimed that choreographer Didy Weldman’s production is going to be a highly aesthetical blend of modern and classical elements. Conductors of the premiere are Modestas Barkauskas (music director of “Carmen”) and Mantas Jauniškis.
21 February marks one of the most important cultural events of the year – Onutė Narbutaitė’s opera “Cornet”, commissioned by the LNOBT and written after a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke and other literary sources. Libretto was written by the composer herself. The production is going to be directed by Gintaras Varnas, conducted by Robertas Šervenikas (music director) and Julius Geniušas.
On 11 April the stage of the LNOBT is going to be brightened by a unique production of “Il barbiere di Siviglia”, a co-production between the LNOBT and San Francisco Opera. Director of the production is Emilio Sagi from Spain – his elegant “Le nozze di Figaro” is well known to the visitors of the LNOBT. Conductors Julius Geniušas (music director) and Alexis Soriano (Spain).
Fifth premiere is going to be presented on 16 May – the title is “The Snow Queen”, after the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Choreographer of the production Michael Corder has already won numerous awards for this work. Conductors are Martynas Staškus (music director) and Alvydas Šulčys. Director of ballet Rūta Butvilienė claims that “The Snow Queen” is a fine example of English classicism, embellished with impressive characteristic dances.
Appreciators of baroque music will also have a possibility to enjoy an additional premiere – in June of 2014 LNOBT and Palace of Arts (Budapest) are going to present a production of “Alexander’s Feast” by Georg Friedrich Handel. The work is going to be directed by Ksaba Kael, the conductor is Rolf Beck (known to the Lithuanian public from “Johannespassion” directed by Robert Wilson).
During the 2013-2014 Season LNOBT is also going to present five special concerts. The biggest novelty is a Gala Concert on New Year Eve – its programme is still not revealed, but one can surely hope for some exciting surprises. A concert on 12 January is going to be dedicated to the Freedom Defenders Day – soloists Asta Krikščiūnaitė, Ieva Prudnikovaitė, Kristian Benedikt, Liudas Norvaišas, LNOBT and Kaunas State choruses and LNOBT orchestra shall perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”. Conductor of the event is Juozas Domarkas. On 16 November the LNOBT is going to pay respect to Lithuanian diva of opera Irena Milkevičiūtė – a unique concert performed by herself, her students and special guests is going to be conducted by Robertas Šervenikas. A soulful programme of works by Sergei Rachmaninov and Johannes Brahms shall be presented on 31 March, 2014, by the “West Deutsche Rundfunk” symphony orchestra, its conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste and soloist Anna Vinnitskaya (piano). Another concert from the cycle “Best Orchestras of the Work at the Opera and Ballet Theatre” is planned for 24 May together with London Symphony Orchestra and superstar violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Conductor Daniel Harding.
During the upcoming season both opera and ballet companies of the LNOBT are planning to go to quite a few tours. The most important project of international collaboration is an exchange of ballet productions between LNOBT and Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. In November LNOBT is going to present “Barbora Radvilaitė” and “ČIURLIONIS” in Warsaw, while our colleagues from Polish National Ballet shall bring to Vilnius three ballets in one act choreographed by William Forsythe, Krzysztof Pastor and Ashley Page.
Music director of the LNOBT Robertas Šervenikas mentioned that during the upcoming season we shall hear more fresh, young voices and welcome back Lithuanian singers who enjoy successful careers abroad. The names include mezzosopranos Eglė Šidlauskaitė and Ieva Prudnikovaitė, sopranos Viktorija Miškūnaitė, Asmik Grigorian, and Sandra Janušaitė, bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas. LNOBT is also once again inviting Italian bass Ricardo Zanellato.
In the spring of 2013 LNOBT organized a major audition for opera soloist with more than 30 participants. Five of them were invited to work on probation at the LNOBT where they shall work with vocal coaches and start preparing roles in the productions of the theatre.
There is another novelty that was introduced in connection with the new season – from now on all theatregoers have a possibility to purchase their tickets without stepping out of their homes: LNOBT is the first cultural institution in Lithuania that has launched individual system of electronic tickets. You may find the whole 2013-2014 repertoire online at www.opera.lt.
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