Programme 2023

You don’t have to be young to be young. Even though Vilnius is turning 700, it is still young at heart and soul. The people of Vilnius live against a backdrop of rich history and architecture – the city’s distinctive face, heart and pulse. Vilnius is full of youthful energy that prompts action, inspires change, leads forward, and encourages limitless ideas.

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25–28 January 2023
The 700th anniversary of Vilnius

January 2023 will be a special month. On the morning of 25 January, Vilnius woke up 700 years old. The events that took place in January were therefore like the icing on the cake, and the Vilnius Light Festival was like the candles on that cake, compliments of Lithuanian and foreign light artists. This is a gift for everyone – the most unexpected places in Vilnius will shine anew, and interactive installations will allow you to create unique compositions yourself. But the gifts won’t end with the light installations; Vilnius was inviting you to other impressive birthday events and surprises as well.

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25 July 2023
As Young as Vilnius Music Festival

The feast day of St. Christopher, the patron saint of Vilnius, also needs to be celebrated. After all, he’s the one who protects Vilnius from adversity and keeps it on the right path. The free music performances at Vingis Park delighted visitors all day long. Classical and popular contemporary music, well-known performers, special audio-visual solutions and a summery mood promised fun for everyone!

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June 2-3 2023
Vilnius – an open music space

For the third time, the first weekend of summer saw the courtyards of residential areas transformed into an open music hall for two days, with 4 music spaces and 24 artists and bands. Concerts featured different styles of music – as much as 700 minutes of music daily.

Project partners –  Vilnius City Municipality, Go Vilnius and AGATA.

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Once in Vilnius

Capture Vilnius as you see it. Whether you’re watching the sun set over the city, having a coffee on a tiny street in the Old Town, splashing around in a fountain, or attending an event, be sure not to miss memorable moments and share them with others on the Once in Vilnius platform.

The images you capture might even be included in Once in a City Called Vilnius, a full-length film that will be released at the end of 2023. Or create a unique short film using the moments of all the project participants you liked most. The project will prove once again that Vilnius has thousands of faces, and everyone sees it differently.

Project partner – Art factory ,,Loftas”

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April 22 2023 –January 14 2024
Vilnius Poker: The Exhibition

Experience Vilnius through the prism of Ričardas Gavelis’ iconic novel, Vilnius Poker. This book, penned during the collapse of the Soviet system and inspired by the thoughts of a free man, is one of the first Lithuanian novels to examine the city and its dwellers. The Museum of Modern Art invites you to see that period through the eyes of the artists. Director Oskaras Koršunovas and set designer Gintaras Makarevičius offer an exploration of creative rebellion.

Works of visual art reflecting one of the most famous Lithuanian novels will ask us what kind of character Vilnius is today, and how we envision it to be in the future. However, the exhibition makes no promises of offering one correct answer, because it doesn’t exist. Your version is part of the Vilnius puzzle.

Project partner – MO Museum.

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May 13 – October 15 2023
Pavilion: Vilnius 200 Years Ago

The city from the past recreated down to the smallest detail on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius. Step into history and walk through Vilnius in the last quarter of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. Visit the pavilion and explore a model of Vilnius and see the city through the eyes of its past inhabitants. Get to know Vilnius 200 years ago through lectures and engaging workshops. Embark on your own explorations – see what your favourite places used to look like and what everyday life was like. Could you live in the Vilnius of that time?

Project partner – National Museum of Lithuania

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January–November 2023
Opera.Connect: Vilnius, a City of Opera

Residents of Vilnius have long loved opera – it took to the stages here before making its way to Paris, and today the voices of Lithuanian opera soloists can be heard all over the world. That’s why for its 700th anniversary, Opera.Connect: Vilnius, a City of Opera gives the gift of opera, taking it out of the concert halls and spreading it all over the city. This “opera on wheels” brings pieces of opera to the most unexpected spaces. Socially vulnerable people will be introduced to the genre of opera in the project Opera art’i.

Opera is more than just classic costumes – it’s also about modern technologies. In September 2023, artificial intelligence will blow the dust off one of the first operas performed at the Palace of the Grand Dukes in the 17th century and recreate its sound for the ears of the modern listener. Alopera is a synthesis of history and modernity that is a must for all music lovers.

Project partners – Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater.

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May-July 2023
Music for Vilnius

What does Vilnius sound like? It probably depends on where you are. Close your eyes and listen – it may be church bells, a rippling river, leaves rustling in the wind, laughter, or the honking of car horns. Seven world-famous composers did just that: they came to Vilnius, chose a place they like in the city, and created a 5 to 10-minute composition for it. The seven pieces were presented to Vilnius in different spaces, for which they were created. These compositions in Music for Vilnius are like ephemeral sculptures of modern Vilnius.

Project partners – Art Gene Cultural Innovation Agency and LENsemble Vilnius.

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July 23 – August 6 2023
Vilnius Performance Art Biennial

Vilnius is youthful and open to modern ideas, which is why, on the occasion of its anniversary in January 2023, Vilnius was presented with a gift by a renowned star of performance art, and in summer, the historical and new parts of the city, parks, streets and enclosed spaces were filled with temporary but unique works of art – performances making up the first Vilnius International Biennial. One could see Lithuanian works that had made Lithuania famous in the world, as well as international performance stars. During the first biennial, creators examined Vilnius’ historical and modern achievements, as well as its most important dates, events, places and people.

In autumn 2023, during the annual Vilnius City Fiesta festival, the final event of the festival will take place. However, the Vilnius Performance Biennials are a lasting gift to the city, with the festival taking place every two years and becoming a permanent part of the city’s tradition.

Project partner – Meno Niša Art Gallery

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January–December 2023
Vilnius Poker: Cinematographic project

Vilnius is constantly changing, but the city’s DNA remains the same. Ricardas Gavelis’ novel Vilnius Poker is a timeless ode to Vilnius that still hasn’t lost its relevance now, more than three decades later. For the capital’s anniversary, Vilnius Poker is coming back to life on the big screen and in exhibition and concert halls.

The novel was also full of music – jazz is heard in the pages of the book, and to mark the anniversary of Vilnius, it was played in Lukiškės Prison. A unique avant-garde jazz composition Vilnius Poker, created especially for the film, was presented to the citizens and guests of Vilnius as a separate concert. And to fully immerse oneself in the world of Vilnius Poker, there was the opportunity to visit the exhibition, which not only captured the behind-the-scenes of the making of the film, but also a number of thematic paintings and sculptures.

Filmmaker Donatas Ulvydas takes on the fascinating project of giving visual flesh to a legendary work of literature. Unravelling a mystified story of life, love and death in a city rich in mythology and history is no mean challenge, but Vilnius Poker will pierce the Vilnius veil.

Project partners – UAB ,,Ulvyds”, VšĮ ,,Vilnius JJAZZ Ensemble“ and Artbox.

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22 November 2023-9 September 2024
Exhibition: a Worldwide Lithuania: Our Migration Story

House of Histories will present a special exhibition devoted to the processes of Lithuanian migration from the mid-19th century to the present day.

Visitors will have the chance to learn about the main waves of migration and their destinations, causes, and consequences, as well as the stories of prominent individuals who, through their lives and accomplishments, left their mark on a global context. The exhibition has been designed to help visitors experience the different periods and environments of various waves of migration, and will feature the unique stories contained within the everyday narratives of migration.

Project partners – the National Museum of Lithuania with House of Histories.

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25 January – 27 August 2023
Exhibition: Gediminas’s Letters in Vilnius

The National Museum of Lithuania together with the Lithuanian National Museum of Art brought an authentic transcript of Gediminas’s letter to Lithuania. None of Gediminas’s original letters have survived to this day, so the transcript made in Riga shortly after the letter was received is the most authentic document testifying to the birth of the city of Vilnius. The viewing of the letter is accompanied by an interactive exhibition presenting the meaning and importance of these letters.

Project partner – the National Museum of Lithuania.

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15 December 2022 – 27 August 2023
Exhibition: I am a Vilnian

It’s hard to imagine Vilnius without Kaziukas Fair, but did you know that St Casimir was not a permanent resident of Vilnius? We’re so proud of the Vilnius Baroque school, but do you know that it was created by immigrants? Do we consider the multiculturalism programmed by Gediminas’s letters to be the essence of Vilnius identity? And did you know that these letters dictated by the grand duke were transcribed by visiting Franciscan monks?

We invite you to immerse yourself in the telling of 50 stories spanning a period of 700 years that will revolve around Vilnius and its people. Like Vilnius itself, this exhibition is rich and extremely diverse, but all of the stories testify to the same thing – that we are all Vilnians and we all create Vilnius, regardless of whether we were born here or just found a home here.

Project partner – the National Museum of Lithuania.

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January 2023 – January 2024
Palace of the Grand Dukes exhibitions

The Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania has prepared a special gift as Vilnius enters a new century. Visitors have the rare opportunity to see a 3D virtual recreation of the Tower of Gediminas, and one of the exhibitions features the oldest wooden building in Vilnius along with its unique finds.

The Palace of the Grand Dukes is displaying the tapestries of Sigismund II Augustus that have returned to Vilnius. In addition, visitors can see a triumphal arch that has been erected and get acquainted with the historical subtleties of the residences of the grand dukes of Lithuania.

After all, the Palace of the Grand Dukes, which emits a special energy, is one of the most important cultural, educational, museum, informational, tourist and representative objects in the capital, so don’t miss it!

Project partner – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

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