8 June, 21:30 The travelling opera “The Servant Lady” performed at the Cathedral Square.
8 June, 20:00 Theatrical concert “Dolce far niente” performed at the Town Hall Square.
16 June, 22:00 A theatrical concert “Dolce far niente” performed in the inner courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
16 June, 17:00 The travelling opera “The Servant Lady” performed in Panevėžys.
27 June – 6 July, “LNOBT Open” festival held in the Grand Courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
29-30 September “AI OPERA” performed in the Grand Courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
12-15 October, Performing Arts and Creative Industries Forum “In Muse” took place in Litexpo, Lithuanian Academy of Theatre and Music and Ideas Block Music. More information here.
17 November, the first interdisciplinary symposium on the voice “Man Creates the Voice” took place at the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre.
22-25 November, International Symposium IMPACT “Creativity and Improvisation in the Performing Arts” took place at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. More information here.
Vilnius heard opera before Paris, and today Lithuanian opera soloists are among the most famous in the world. Although the opera genre has a very long tradition, opera is not only for classical music fans. On the occasion of Vilnius’ 700th anniversary, opera creators have managed to merge the past with the future and present an unheard-of opera “AIopera” – a lost work that was performed in Vilnius in the 17th century, but which has been restored using modern technology. “Opera.Connect: Vilnius – the City of Opera” had even more surprises in store and invited people to rediscover opera.
Vilnius becomes the opera capital of Europe. The “Opera Europe” conference, the meeting of the largest European initiative in this genre, took place in Vilnius. Opera directors, stage designers and choreographers in residence in the Lithuanian capital also sought inspiration. “Opera.Connect: Vilnius – the City of Opera” has prepared an exceptional gift for Vilnius residents and visitors.
As the city enters the summer of its jubilee year, the artists of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre recalled the historical link between Vilnius and opera by presenting two free events in the city’s historical spaces: the premiere of the theatrical concert “Dolce far niente“ in the City Hall Square, and a performance of the travelling opera “The Servant Lady” in a semi-trailer pulled by a truck on the Cathedral Square.
The opera festival was a beautiful introduction to the third international summer festival “LNOBT Open”, which took place in the Grand Courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania from 27 June to 6 July. This festival gives music lovers the opportunity of a yearly return to the Lithuanian cradle of the opera and ballet genre at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.
Vilnius is renowned as a European centre of technology, so it’s no wonder that on the occasion of the city’s 700th anniversary, the creators of “AIopera” have presented an exceptional spectacle with the help of modern technology. On 29-30 September 2023, one of the first operas performed in Vilnius in the 17th century was recreated with the help of artificial intelligence and presented to the public at the Palace of the Grand Dukes.
Although the first Lithuanian opera “Birutė” was performed only on 6 November 1906, the city residents have been enjoying opera at the Vilnius City Hall long before that. The opera was performed in Lithuania, at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius, less than 40 years after it was first performed in Italy, earlier than in Paris or London. Opera became one of the main genres of music during the Baroque period, and it is Vilnius that can be called the pearl of the Baroque.
But it was not just for the entertainment of the court; opera was also performed for the general public, often reflecting changes in the community and exploring processes of democratisation. Therefore, on the occasion of the city’s anniversary, the creators also wanted to give communities a chance to hear opera in everyday life. The project “Opera on Wheels” gave people the opportunity to hear excerpts from the opera in unexpected spaces in the city’s residential areas. The “Opera Art” project will bring the beauty of this genre of music to Vilnius residents who are rarely exposed to culture, visiting care institutions for the socially vulnerable, as well as prisons.
Vilnius is not only associated with historical opera. In 2019, the opera-performance “The Sun and the Sea” by Vaiva Grainytė, Lina Lapelytė and Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Virgilijus Noreika, Violeta Urmana, Edgaras Montvidas, Asmik Grigorian and others have also started their careers in Vilnius, making Lithuania famous worldwide. The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, built in 1974, was one of the most modern engineering buildings in the region. Vilnius also offers modern interpretations of Vilnius City Opera, and the Opera Incubator “Operomanija” nurtures future stars. Opera is a fusion of music, words, dance, art and architecture. In Vilnius, it becomes a connecting point between multidisciplinarity and multiculturalism, making it an important symbol for the city in the anniversary year.
Just as Vilnius has managed to change and remain modern for 700 years, so the creators of the opera strive to keep the opera relevant. Opera does not only tell the past and history, but also looks to the future, searching for new paths. Vilnius City Opera has long been surprising the world of the opera lovers with its modern approach to opera, thus attracting a new generation to its halls.
But new knowledge is needed to ensure that the city can continue to pride itself on producing future opera stars. In 2023, Vilnius hosted the Performing Arts and Creative Industries Forum “In Muse”, the first interdisciplinary symposium “Man Creates Voice” on voice issues, and the International Symposium IMPACT “Creativity and Improvisation in the Performing Arts”.