3rd International Opera and Classical Music Festival
The 3rd Klaipėda Festival, returning to Paul Lindenau’s shipyard from 28 July until 11 August, will be exceptional in its content, meaningful dedications and the desire to reveal the magnificence of the old shipyard from another angle.
28 July at 20.00.
WAR AND PEACE SONGS
Joint concert of Klaipėda National Music Theatre and Kyiv National Academic Operetta The Theatre
The concert programme will feature vocal-instrumental works for voices, choir and symphony orchestra by composers from different periods and countries, on the theme of war and peace, which is particularly relevant today. The programme will be performed together with the Klaipėda National Music Theatre Symphony Orchestra by the KNMT soloists and choir, as well as guests from the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre (Ukraine) – soloists and choir artists. Conducting will be Tomas Ambrozaitis, Chief Conductor of the KNMT, Vladimir Konstantinov, Chief Choirmaster of the KNMT, and Sergiy Didok, guest conductor of the Kyiv National Academic Operetta Theatre.
4 August at 21.30.
3 act story opera (performed without interruptions)
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the annexation of Klaipėda to Lithuania in 2023, the Klaipėda National Music Theatre commissioned four Klaipėda-based composers to create an opera that would bring to life the centuries-old events, the aspirations of the old Lithuanians who lived in Klaipėda and the Lithuanians who came from Major Lithuania to help them, and the special spirit of the place and time. According to the philosopher and writer Arvydas Juozaitis, who wrote the libretto for the opera, the thematic axis of the stories developed in all three acts of the opera are the three fundamental concepts that characterise the history of Klaipėda region – personality, religion and language.
In the opera’s first act, we meet the first seven of the opera’s large cast of characters. Among them are such well-known historical personalities of Lithuania Minor as the printer Martynas Jankus and his daughter Elze, the evangelical priest Vilius Gaigalaitis, the former book bearer and prospector Jonas Polovinskas-Budrys, who came from Lithuania Major, and the writer Ieva Simonaite (Eve Simonaite). At the end of the action, the goal of the reunification of Lithuania Minor with Lithuania Major is established. All this takes place on St. Christmas Eve, in the village of Lithuania Minor. “Everybody is looking forward to the holiday, so the music is mostly light, minor, hopeful,” said Loreta Narvilaite, the composer of the first act.
The second act begins on 6 January 1923, the feast of the Three Kings. On that day, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Ernestas Galvanauskas, the literary and public figure, the chairman of the Riflemen’s Union, Vincas Kreve-Mickevicius, the philosopher Vilhelmas Storosta (“Vydunas”), and the nominal political leader of the Klaipėda uprising, Erdmon Simonaitis, meet to discuss a plan for the annexation of Klaipėda. The next picture shows Gabriel Jean Petisne, Prefect of Memel, and his wife. The woman does not hold back her anger at the circumstances that have pushed her into the “backwater of Europe” and blames her husband for everything, but Petisne remains faithful to the idea of a European mission. Against the backdrop of this “drama”, a squad of French soldiers is ready for battle… The next episode takes place in a church filled with civilian Lithuanian soldiers in disguise, also preparing for battle. When the French enter the church, the atmosphere heats up and the drama of the situation reaches its peak at the very end of the act. “This theme is very interesting to me because of its historical uniqueness and, of course, because I have been a long-time resident of Klaipėda, I am familiar with the ethnic and church music of this region, and most importantly, this music has become close to my heart in some way,” said composer Vladimir Konstantinov about the musical inspirations for this action.
The music for the third act of the opera is composed by two composers and sound artists Kristijonas Lucinskas (Driezhas) and Donatas Bielkauskas (Donis), who have been living in Klaipėda for several decades. Their scenes combine live orchestral sound with a pre-recorded electronic music soundtrack. According to Lucinskas, it will also feature the city itself: “it’s all sorts of local sounds around us and even vibrations that we don’t normally hear, but we can pick up with special microphones”. Using new sound creation and processing technologies, the two artists use acoustic material from different origins to build the multi-layered musical fabric of the opera’s third act. Bielkauskas, who is interested in contemporary opera trends, said that he avoided celebratory pathos and relied on a more subjective assessment of historical events. “I would like this opera of stories to encourage the audience to take a closer look at the uniqueness of our region, not only to commemorate an event of significance to Lithuania, but also to understand the multilayered experience of the everyday life of the people who have lived here, and the hopes they had for their future”.
11 August at 22.30
“Carmina Burana” is a cantata by the 20th century German composer Carl Orff, one of the world’s most impressive musical masterpieces. The work has a libretto written by the composer himself, using twenty-four medieval poems from the “Codex Buranus”, a manuscript discovered in 1803 in the monastery of Bojern. Perhaps the best-known part of the cantata “Carmina Burana” is the uplifting chorus “O Fortuna”, which opens and closes the work. The cantata’s texts touch on many themes that have not yet lost their relevance: the fickleness of success and wealth, the rapid flow of life, the joy of the returning spring, and the fleeting pleasures of drunkenness, abundant food, gambling and carnal love. The cantata’s collection of secular songs is presented in Latin and German Highland languages. The music is aimed at the listener’s heart, expressive, furious, sometimes lyrical and lustful.
The premiere of the cantata “Carmina Burana” took place in Frankfurt am Main in 1937, after which the composer C. Orff wrote to his publisher: „Everything I have composed and which you have unfortunately published to this day may be destroyed. My work will begin with “Carmina Burana”.
The performance of “Carmina Burana” requires enormous forces and a high level of performance technique. It is scored for a large and unusual orchestra, a double mixed choir and three soloists: soprano, tenor and baritone.
In the cantata, the composer seems to play with movement, sound, dance, song and the visual magic of the stage. Orff saw theatre as a synthesis of all the arts and sought to create a combined effect on the spectator. “Carmina Burana” has received numerous genre-specific interpretations and has been played, sung, performed and danced on every continent of the world.
Dalius Abaris, the director of Kantata, calls the performance at the Klaipėda Festival a videographic spectacle. According to him, the audience should be amazed by the entirety of the performance: the dynamic and spectacular music by C. Orff, the huge constructions of the old eling, the impressive size of the choir required to perform this work, the theatre orchestra, soloists, and mime performers. “This alone would be enough to make “Carmina Burana” an impression, and together with the talented stage designer Sigita Simkunaite, we will try to control the whole and wrap it up in an all-encompassing outfit,” says the director.