The ensemble "Lietuva" and "Revival Orchestra" present the premiere of the dance and music performance "Dance symphony from Jerusalem of the North". The performance is specially created to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilnius Ghetto. It will be presented on 23-24 of September at the State Youth Theatre, on the former site of the Vilnius Ghetto. The new project is based on the widely acclaimed work "Symphony from Jerusalem of the North" by Jievaras Jasinskis. The work of the young composer has inspired a new, larger-scale creative idea, which will be realised by director and choreographer Aušra Krasauskaitė with a compelling movement narrative accompanied by the live music of several orchestras.
"Almost a year ago, I heard "Symphony from Jerusalem of the North" by Jievaras Jasinskis at St Catherine's Church. At that time, I felt very powerful emotions - tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to the Israeli anthem. I experienced a catharsis sitting among the audience, and the feelings I experienced "led" me to thoughts about a dance performance. I thought how wonderful it would be to create a dance to this music. An unexpected offer from Edita, the head of the ensemble "Lietuva", to create a dance performance seemed to confirm the saying that my desire had gone "straight to God's ear", - recalls A. Krasauskaitė, the chief ballet-master of the ensemble "Lietuva".
The first presentation of Jasinski's concert took place on 23 September 2021, the day of the Genocide of the Lithuanian Jews, and became a significant artistic highlight of the 80th anniversary of the Holocaust. Exactly two years later, the project will take on an even more compelling form, with dance movements and a new arrangement of the piece, complemented by a richer sound of national instruments.
"I've never had someone hear my music and decide to stage a dance play. It's a completely new experience, as was the project's tour in Israel, where my work was heard abroad for the first time. Personally, this is the first time that a programmatic and stage work has been so publicly noticed. I'm curious to see what the final result will look like in autumn, but knowing that the team has a huge amount of experience makes me feel more at ease. And we have already tried the orchestra of the ensemble "Lietuva" in concert format in May. During the performance we will see how all the existing versions of the music work, how the dancing and the characters dictate, and maybe we will have to do some additional creative work. I think the final result will be very colourful for both the eye and the ear. I'm happy, excited and looking forward to it", - shares the composer J. Jasinskis.
The premiere will reveal experiences of the protagonists of the performance, and will reflect important historical events in the form of mass battle scenes, which the dances will bring to life, and remind the audience of the common experience of Jews and Lithuania.
"In my vision as the director, the emotional background will be further enhanced by dance movements, body plasticity and other immersive choreographic choices. I am looking forward to the creative process with endless excitement, and have already begun - my trip to Jerusalem in May brought intense experiences, perceptions and shocks - and I will put all these experiences into a performance that I am passionate about", - says A. Krasauskaitė.
"Dance Symphony from Jerusalem of the North" is a joint project of the state ensemble "Lietuva" and the public institution "Revival Orchestra", whose previous version was produced and scripted by Tadas Daujotas. The new performance will feature dancers from "Lietuva", two live orchestras - the Vilnius City Municipality's St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra and the Vilnius City Municipality's St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, as well as the ensemble "Lietuva", which will bring an authentic sound to the musical journey, and will be joined by jazz and classical music guest musicians.
Classical music will be interwoven with exotic Middle Eastern melodies, klezmer motifs and jazz elements. This is a contemporary project with world music genre and archaic overtones, featuring the majestic sound of ancient Hebrew shofar horns, while the orchestra's sound is subtly blended with the sounds of the kanban and reed pipe. Not only the live sound, but also the dance, the costumes and the unconventional multi-storey set design will reveal the relevance of the present.
The story of the dance, which began 4,000 years ago, continues to this day. It is symbolic that in 2023, as we celebrate the 700th anniversary of Vilnius, we remember the Letters of Gediminas - the official invitation that widely opened the way for Jews to enter our country, where for centuries they have been building prosperity, and where their history has been intimately intertwined with the historical experience of our nation. It is symbolic that, as North Jerusalem celebrates a special anniversary, we will commemorate the painful anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilnius Ghetto.
In the Vilnius ghetto, spiritual resistance and a vibrant cultural life helped to survive, to unite and to keep hope alive, which seems almost unbelievable in such a context. In the face of suffering and death, the ghetto's inhabitants tried to cling to life and to express themselves: there was a theatre, professional choirs, a symphony orchestra and a jazz orchestra, exhibitions, concerts and competitions. Through theatre, culture, art and education, people saved themselves from self-destruction - even in the most tragic moments, they strengthened their sense of community, they did not forget the humanistic values of their people and their nation, they tried to find positive emotions and to believe that one day they would be free. The ghetto was liquidated on 23-24 of September 1943, so the dance performance is scheduled to premiere in Vilnius on the same dates at the State Youth Theatre, located in the territory of the former ghetto.
J. Jasinskis is not only the composer of this play, but is also the head of an orchestra representing the capital "Vilnius Jjazz Ensemble", a trombonist, and one of the composers of the film concert "Vilniaus pokeris". The director and choreographer A. Krasauskaitė is a laureate of the Golden Stage Cross and the Acknowledgement Mask, and has staged more than eight dance performances in various Lithuanian theatres. The set designer is Gintaras Makarevičius, a multiple Golden Stage Cross winner. Costume designer - Julija Skuratova, lighting designer - Darius Malinauskas.
The programme will be presented to the Jewish community on the 23rd of September and to the public on the 24th. After the premiere in Vilnius, "Dance Symphony from Jerusalem of the North" will continue to be shown on the 27th of September at the National Kaunas Drama Theatre, and on October the 7th at the Palanga Concert Hall.
The State Ensemble "Lietuva" continues its long-term campaign "Let's Grow the Muscle of Unity", which is aimed at uniting people of different nations and religions, who historically have been creating the common history of Lithuania. This campaign reminds us that the heart is the main muscle in the human body, and unity helps to unite these hearts - to unite through the living and common history of all of us.
The project is partially financed by the Chancellery of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius City Municipality, "Go Vilnius" and the Department of National Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, and informational partner LRT. The event is part of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius 700vilnius.lt programme.
Composer: Jievaras Jasinskis
Director and choreographer: Aušra Krasauskaitė
Set designer: Gintaras Makarevičius
Musical director: Ramūnas Marcinkus
Costume designer: Julija Skuratova
Lighting designer: Darius Malinauskas
Head of the public institution “Revival Orchestra”: Tadas Daujotas
Head of the state ensemble “Lietuva“: Edita Katauskienė
State ensemble “Lietuva“ orchestra and dancers (head conductor Egidijus Kaveckas)
Vilnius City Municipality St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra (Artistic director and head conductor Modestas Barkauskas)
Guest classical, jazz and folk musicians