From That Opera – MO Gidas
 
Piotr Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades” – Overture
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The overture for “The Queen of Spades” by the well-known composer P. Tchaikovsky is like a wise novelist’s riddle at the beginning of a story. Here, the unsuspecting listener hears the main motif of faith, – of the mysterious and secret three-card combination. This composition perfectly reflects Tchaikovsky’s genius and his ability to soothe the body-shivering musical moments as if pouring water on them. Allowing them to unnoticeably flow away in the stream of the story.

In VCOs’ performance, the eloquence of the overture is accompanied by the onstage action, presenting not only the main character – the gambling-addicted Herman, but also allowing the audience to overview the abstract scenery and costumes. Romantic figures, stylized in modern fashion, mirror the themes of reality and fantasy chosen by the creators. Has Herman ever met a Countess who knew the secret to card success? Or maybe it was all in his head?

Full recording of Piotr Tchaikovsky’s opera “The Queen of Spades” can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119475/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119476/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d
Part III https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119473/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iii-d

Giacomo Puccini’s “Manon Lesko” – Intermezzo
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In 2012, for the first time in Lithuania, VCO presented G. Puccini’s opera “Manon Lesko”. Torn between the reality of love and the illusions of wealth, in a short time, young Manon experiences both: the charm of romantic, young love and the life of a trophy wife, in which faulty choices lead to death.

In the third act, after the blazing scene of Manon’s arrest, the intermezzo allows the viewer to not only catch a breath, but also to recall the feelings they experienced along with the heroine, by following the familiar motifs from the arias that they heard earlier. The instrumental passage is constructed so that it acts almost as a musical illustrator for a silent film. The style of which is supported by the setting of VCO production, which moved the story to the decadent 1910–1914’s Paris. As does the scenography by Dick Bird, that reminiscence of old film frames.

Full recording of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Manon Lesko” can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119464/g-puccini-opera-manon-lesko-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-ii-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119467/g-puccini-opera-manon-lesko-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iii-iv-veiksmai

Charles Gounod’s “Faust” – The Walpurgis Night Ballet
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Faust’s and Mephistopheles’ journey through the labyrinths of human weaknesses in Ch. Gounod’s opera is crowned by the Walpurgis Night Ballet. The French composer has endeavored in such a way, that often in staging one of the most famous operas in the world, this musical number is cut out, because not every director or choreographer will dare to attempt to create on stage action that is able to surpass this orchestral thunder. Ballet troupes, meanwhile, have taken this music as a separate piece to create choreography.

Director D. Ibelhauptaitė invited the British choreographer John Ross to conquer the music of the 19th century. In addition to the already challenging task, he also had to combine the capabilities of a professional dancer troupe and VCOs’ young soloist ensemble. The result? A breathtaking fusion of energy of contemporary dance, artistic youth and a natural frenzy not only of all the circles of hell, but also of the most secret fantasies of Faust’s passion before his tragic ending.

Full recording of Ch. Gounod’s opera “Faust” can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1013687218/spektaklis-vilnius-city-opera-ch-gounod-faustas

“Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Overture
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The first premiere of “Die Zauberflöte” took place in 1791, just a couple of months before the death of its composer. The opera tells the symbolic story of the Queen of the Night who sent a lost prince to look for her daughter.

The overture prepares the viewer for the upcoming story. Beginning with the majestic chords, later repeated throughout the opera and the composition ends at the highest culmination point, as after it the action begins with a tense performance by the prince. VCO staging took the opera to mystical Ancient Egypt, so while listening to the overture, the audience were able to watch the huge pyramids on the stage, which in the course of the action were covered with gold dust from the impressive make-up of the performers. Not only the faces shone with gold, but also the costumes and impressive scenography details, such as a real-size sarcophagus.

Full recording of W. A. Mozzart’s opera “Die Zauberflöte” can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119453/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119450/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d

Sandra Janušaitė performs aria Toska in G. Puccini’s opera “Toska”
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Giuseppe Verdi is known as a composer who wrote for big voices and passions. Verdi’s Il trovatore is based on a story about two separated brothers who have been reunited through their love for Leonora. In the VCO’s production of Il trovatore, this particular character is put in the limelight by emphasizing the woman’s coming of age story.

The character performed by Sandra Janušaitė is a combination of childish dreamer but also a mature, resolute, and self-assured lady, which strongly resonates with Sandra’s own personality. A self-willed singer hailing from Samogitia, makes no secret of how difficult and long her path towards feeling comfortable on stage was. Sandra still has to remind herself that nobody’s perfect. For she is a perfectionist, indeed. While performing on stage, she stands out for displaying her ‘naked’ emotions and the incredible ability to put her utmost energy into every moment. Not only is her voice strong, but so is her will that has guided her along the way towards singing leading roles at major opera theatres in Lithuania and elsewhere in Europe.  

Laimonas Pautienius performs Valentine’s aria in Ch. Gounod’s opera “Faust”
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Count di Luna, is the grim and sombre commander of the royal troops. But as it frequently happens in traditional folktales, there is a softer side to his character too, which he conceals from others and which starts melting away in the presence of an exceptional woman – Leonora. Laimonas Pautienius is the ideal soloist for convincing portrayals of villains. It seems impossible not to fall in love with the characters he plays on stage. One of the founding members of the “Bohemians” and a long-standing soloist of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, he finds a key to each and every role he performs and unlocks it. It appears that in each of his characters Laimonas reveals a philosophical underpinning, which explains even their most gruesome deeds. The baritone who was once dubbed the ‘Champagne Boy’ knows for sure how to shoot an unsuspected squib, especially when he has to play comic characters not unlike his own playful nature. When it comes to portraying the dark side, Laimonas usually opts for the moments of intense, disturbing silence.

Full recording of the opera “Faust” by Ch. Gounod can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1013687218/spektaklis-vilnius-city-opera-ch-gounod-faustas

Jovita Vaškevičiūtė performs Dalila’s aria in C. Saint-Saënso’s opera “Samson and Delilah”
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In Il trovatore, Azucena is the truly dark (definitely not grey) eminence of the story. A gypsy woman, hardened by life and short-tempered – she carries a deep, dark secret throughout the opera. Her life goal is to take revenge against two noble scions for her mother’s death. At first sight such characteristics haven’t got anything in common with the personality of Jovita Vaškevičiūtė who performs this role. As a person, she is particularly sensitive to every living being around her. As the owner of the powerful voice, however, she can each time appear in a different, unexpected light. One may guess that the stage alone can withstand the intensity and range of her feelings she generously projects to her audiences with utmost expression and effort. The exceptionally wide-ranging possibilities of her mezzo-soprano voice have also been noticed by contemporary opera artists and producers who regularly invite her to perform as far afield as Argentina.

Full recording of the opera “Samson and Delilah” by C. Saint-Saënso can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119463/c-saint-saens-opera-samsonas-ir-dalila-rez-d-ibelhauptaite 

Justina Gringytė performs the Habanera aria in G. Bizet’s opera “Carmen”
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What can be done when you have the chance to work with one of the best performers of Carmen in the world? Others may decide for themselves, but the VCO proposed Justina Gringytė… to learn the part anew! The electronic opera e-Carmen came as a surprise to the audiences and performers alike. This is not the modern remix of Georges Bizet’s opera, but an original work by Marijus Adomaitis (aka Ten Walls) based on Bizet, which made even the winner of 2015 International Opera Awards Young Singer of the Year toil hard. Gringytė’s Carmen is compelling, passionate and modern. It was only an uncompromising artist like Justina, with her respectful approach to work and unconditional work ethic, who could take on a Sisyphean task like this. It is interesting to note that neither her roles, nor her being in front of the lens, nor the grand scale of venues, like the Royal Opera House or English National Opera in London, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona or Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, have obscured the lustre of her piercing eyes.

Full recording of the opera “e-Carmen” by Ten Walls can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000088762/spektaklis-marijus-adomaitis-ten-walls-e-carmen

Kostas Smoriginas performs Tomsky’s ballad in P. Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”
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What are you supposed to do, being born into a family of one of the most celebrated Lithuanian actors? Kostas Smoriginas made his choice by becoming one of the most celebrated Lithuanian baritones. Speaking of the High Priest of Dagon played by Kostas in Samson et Dalila, we could hardly avoid discussing his artistry. He clearly has a gift of feeling at ease and in his element on stage, being open to the great diversity of characters he has to enact, but high standart stage portrayals become convincing only after a lot of persistent work and effort. Even though it looks like the five-finger exercise. There is also an inborn streak of darkness in him, which becomes reflected as anger, grief, or grievance depending on his role. After all, it was the High Priest who really murdered Samson with the help of Delilah in Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera. Kostas effectively uses speech, song and voice to enthral audiences in major opera venues like London Covent garden, Milano La Scala, Mocsow Bolshoi, San Francisco and Washington opera, Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals to name but a few. His voice is an amazing combination of sombre, thunderous, and at the same time velvety tones.

Full recording of the opera “The Queen of Spades” by P. Tchaikovsky can be found on LRT media library: 

Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119475/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119476/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d
Part III https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119473/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iii-d

Kristian Benedikt performs “Aria of Kalaf” in G. Puccini’s “Turandot”
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Although Kristian Benedikt is primarily known as Otello in the opera world, the role of Cavaradossi from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca is one of his special favourites. Just like a hot-headed painter in this opera, Kristian is an ardent artist with a strong commitment to his mission. The plot of one of the world’s most frequently performed operas centres on Mario Cavaradossi who loses his life while defending his beliefs and his love for singer Floria Tosca. The deadly struggle of two loving artists against despotic rulers is the theme running through many centuries. With this role, the soloist has fully exhibited an uncompromising perseverance and commitment to his goal. Through his passionate approach to the roles he undertakes, Kristian has succeeded in achieving his personal goals as well: the singer’s profile currently includes numerous opera and concert engagements in almost all parts of the world, with a special highlight being his recent debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Sigutė Stonytė performs Leonora’s aria in G. Verdi’s opera “The Force of Destiny”
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Many years ago Sigutė Stonytė, just like the founders of the VCO, chose to stay in Lithuania despite the fact that she could have made it to the world’s major opera houses. It was here that she has performed many leading dramatic and lyric soprano roles, for which she has been awarded the country’s highest artistic honours, and has continued to work as an unparalleled mentor to a future generations of singers. Her extensive professional experience, strong personality and acute sense of humour were the winning features for her nomination as the only candidate to portray a different version of Larina in the VCO’s production of Onegin. The company decided to change the locale of the classic Russian play to kommunalka and use the shortened version of the original title for its production of Tchaikovsky’s opera. Thus Mme Larina, the mother of Tatyana, a girl wounded by rejection of an arrogant youth, was turned into a recognisable prototype of the Soviet manageress of consumer goods warehouse. Sigutė alone could endow this character with the well-earned and not shallow ‘diva’ status but transgressing the stereotypical image of the ‘merited artist,’ by lighting up a Belomorkanal cigarette on stage.

Full recording of the opera “The Force of Destiny” by G. Verdi can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119483/g-verdi-opera-likimo-galia-i-ii-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119478/g-verdi-opera-likimo-galia-iii-iv-veiksmai

Tadas Girininkas performs Ferrando’s aria in G. Verdi’s “The Troubadour”
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You can’t imagine what a long way Tadas Girininkas has travelled with the “Bohemians.” From the modest long-haired chap who could not be comfortable onstage due to his tall physique to the elegant Italian bon vivant as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. This particular character is to blame for conceiving a cunning plan to put the fidelity of the loving couples to test and persuading two pals to disguise themselves as foreigners to seduce each other’s girlfriend. What is the purpose of such cynicism? Perhaps nothing more than romantic mischief. This production helped reveal his previously undiscovered talent as a quipster. Today, he is not only an award-winning soloist, father and husband, but also one of the most kind-hearted and down-to-earth opera personalities frequently engaged to perform major dramatic bass roles.

Full recording of the opera “The Troubadour” by G. Verdi can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119512/g-verdi-opera-trubaduras-rez-dalia-ibelhauptaite

Edgaras Montvidas performs aria “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure“ in Ch. Gounod’s “Faust”
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From the Parisian poet and thoughtful dreamer in La bohème to the aging scholar chasing after youth and wisdom in Gounod’s Faust. Edgaras Montvidas was the first “Bohemian,” as well as the first ever Lithuanian singer to join the Vilar Young Artists scheme at Covent Garden, which, as luck would have it, soon led to his debut at the Royal Opera House as Alfredo, thus becoming the youngest soloist to perform the role at the age of 27. His looks are always flawless; he’s well-behaved and tactful as a British gentleman; his voice is of the highest standard and his acting meticulously detailed and psychologically motivated. Having garnered important distinctions in Lithuania and appeared at major opera houses of Paris and Vienna, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Brussels La Monnaie, Glyndebourne Festival and of course Royal Opera House London, Edgaras Montvidas seems to be in constant pursuit of undeniable quality. His portrayal of Faust exposes the dark side of human nature, vanity and greed. It turns out that these vices can easily overcome sound judgment, and only love can purge them from one’s soul. Edgaras came up with an epic depiction of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil and performed it with conviction, which has drawn huge praise from the British critics.

Full recording of the opera “Faust” by Ch. Gounod can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1013687218/spektaklis-vilnius-city-opera-ch-gounod-faustas

Vida Miknevičiūtė performs Liza’s aria in P. Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”
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In the story of Faust, Marguerite is the one who suffers the hardest blows of fate. The hapless love, her brother’s death, the loss of her newborn child and the subsequent loss of her mind… In Gounod’s opera, the wretched fate of this young, open-hearted girl is ingeniously carved in the sopranos arias using strikingly different colours and sensitive musical characterization. Vida Miknevičiūtė is the ideal choice for Marguerite. Her life and work experience vindicates the naïveté of Marguerite whom she portrays with motherly compassion, thereby making us believe in her sincerity. The voice of Vida who has established herself as a prominent singer in Germany reflects the qualities that should be taken as a rule in this country – diligence, precision, and punctuality. When you attend her operatic appearances you simply know that she will deliver the highest quality performance. Having embarked on her professional career right after completing her studies in Lithuania, Vida currently enjoys a busy schedule of leading roles at Berlin Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Wiener Staatsoper also travelling all the way to Australia.

Full recording of the opera “The Queen of Spades” by P. Tchaikovsky can be found on LRT media library: 

Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119475/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119476/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d
Part III https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119473/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iii-d

Almas Švilpa performs Mefistofel’s aria “De Veau d’or“ in Ch. Gounod’s “Faust“
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Even though the story in Charles Gounod’s opera centres on the fate of Faust, it would not be as effective without his worthy rival, Méphistophélès. Almas Švilpa, a bass-baritone who has been a soloist of the Aalto Theatre in Essen for many years and sang in the stages of Deutsche Oper Berlin and Wiener staatsoper, has it all to deliever the devil’s multi-faceted character. His powerful, athletic figure, high stature, and penetrating eyes naturally place him at the centre stage of the action. His innate traits endow his Méphistophélès with a sinister quality and unpredictable emotions. The devil’s soul has no restrictions to obey: he can have fun and contrive schemes, wear a priest’s cassock or a woman’s gown. But of course, different guises are only used to conceal his true intentions. By kindling Faust’s hope to win his battle against time, Méphistophélès appears only to make a pleasant pastime for himself. Almas’s own favourite pastime is much less mischievous: as a native of the seaport town of Klaipėda, he is the captain of his own private yacht!

Full recording of the opera “Faust“ by Ch. Gounod can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1013687218/spektaklis-vilnius-city-opera-ch-gounod-faustas

Merūnas Vitulskis performs Rudolf’s aria in G. Puccini’s opera “La Boheme”
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A young poet striving to, one day write an impeccable drama, Rodolfo finds himself amidst his own drama in La bohème. He falls in love with Mimì, then leaves her because of his ill-founded jealousy, and ultimately loses her to consumption. The idealism of a young artist hinders him from cherishing all the precious moments with his loved one… Today, Merūnas Vitulskis is something more than merely a child of fortune and a gifted young artist who can identify completely with Rodolfo. His career and private life are now filled with mature fatherhood, love and responsibility for his appearances on the international scene. His tenor, powerful and tender, expresses something that helps him win audience’s love and job offers from opera producers – that is, the inner light that shines through in this photograph too, despite Merūnas’s anxious look.

Full recording of the opera “La Boheme” by G. Puccini can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119447/g-puccini-opera-bohema-rezisiere-d-ibelhauptaite-1-2-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119454/g-puccini-opera-bohema-rezisiere-d-ibelhauptaite-3-4-veiksmai

Joana Gedmintaitė performs Mimi’s aria “Si, mi chiamano Mimi” in G. Puccini’s opera “La Boheme”
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The first Mimì in the VCO’s earliest performances of La bohème. Joana Gedmintaitė is Lithuanian opera’s ‘girl next door’ – unassuming, modest, one of us. No wonder that the role of Mimì clings to her like a second skin. Rodolfo is captivated by his neighbour, a quiet girl who lives in the same building and knocks on his door one evening to ask for help. Even though their love is not destined to last, the love duet of Rodolfo and Mimì in this opera beguiles us with sincerity and youthful candour. Joana who sings principal soprano roles is an epitome of responsibility and strength on stage. You will never hear a single complaint from her or notice even a hint of fatigue, and you can always see her smile. Warmth and kindness characterize not only her personality but her beautiful voice too.

Full recording of the opera “La Boheme” by G. Puccini can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119447/g-puccini-opera-bohema-rezisiere-d-ibelhauptaite-1-2-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119454/g-puccini-opera-bohema-rezisiere-d-ibelhauptaite-3-4-veiksmai

Romanas Kudriašovas performs prince Yeletsky’s aria in P. Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades”
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As if the one-eyed jack had come down from the deck of cards… Romanas Kudriašovas, a young talent who had joined the ranks of the “Bohemians” only recently, appears here as Yeletsky from The Queen of Spades – a dignified, ill-fated fiancé of Liza. For the time being he mainly performs supporting baritone roles and is known in Lithuania to a limited circle of opera aficionados. Yet he already has performances at major venues, such as Glyndebourne festival in England, to his credit. Can it be so that he, or more specifically, his tender and warm timbre, will in fact be his trump card for big international career? Time will tell. For now Romanas displays a charming combination of professionalism and humility both on a stage and in everyday life.

Full recording of the opera “The Queen of Spades” by P. Tchaikovsky’s can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119475/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119476/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d
Part III https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119473/opera-piku-dama-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iii-d

Irena Milkevičiūtė performs Norma’s aria “Casta Diva” in V. Bellini’s opera “Norma”
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It is our imagination that draws a distinction between the person and the legend. The way we see celebrities act in front of the audience differs from the way we see them conduct themselves behind the scenes and, even more so, in their everyday lives. And yet we get a totally different picture gleaned from the pierced together evidence of intricate mosaic of their lives. The Countess from The Queen of Spades is like a jigsaw puzzle, which is hard to fathom all at once. What if there has never been such a thing as a secret combination of cards… What if the old Countess was but a fancy of the mad gambler?

Irena Milkevičiūtė, a prima donna of Lithuanian opera, has a wealth of secrets too, which she brings with her on stage while performing the role of the Countess. She has performed most of the dream roles ever written for a soprano and honed her vocal techniques at La Scala at a time when one could only dream of travelling abroad. If one could become a fly on the wall sometime in the past… Irena has received worldwide recognition but remained humble and continues to share her knowledge with the young generation of singers as a reputable professor.

Jurgita Adamonytė performs Mélisande’s aria “Mes Longs cheveux” in C. Debussy’s opera “Pelléas and Mélisande”
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She is mysterious and as open-hearted as a child; she makes you feel uncertain, while she’s smiling – it’s all in Mélisande’s contradictory nature. The music in Claude Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande is no less perplexing, conveying the symbolistic plot that concerns a destructive love triangle. “She is nobody,” says Jurgita Adamonytė about her Mélisande. “Everyone sees in her what they want.” After her appearances in the lead role at the Welsh National Opera, the critics saw a ‘Lithuanian Ingrid Bergman’ in her. Unassuming, sometimes even a strict and straightforward person in her daily life, Jurgita is a skilled professional in her metier. She never chooses the easiest way and performs the so-called trouser roles with the same natural ease as the mezzo-soprano roles. As a result she draws both professional acclaim and public admiration everywhere she appears – from the United Kingdom to Japan.

Full recording of the opera “Pelléas and Mélisande” by C. Debussy can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119948/c-debussy-opera-pelejas-ir-melisanda-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-iii-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119462/c-debussy-opera-pelejas-ir-melisanda-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iv-v-veiksmai

Ieva Prudnikovaitė performs Karmen’s aria in G. Bizet’s opera “Chanson Boheme“
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Ieva Prudnikovaitė can become everything she wants. This is not merely due to her talent as an actress. Ieva is an incredibly self-possessed, conscientious person. Being raised in the world of theatre and music, she could not be easily surprised. On the other hand, she remains open even to the most extreme directorial choices and baffling interpretations of the characters she plays, looking at things with unbiased, penetrating rationality. Geneviève in Pelléas et Mélisande is a reticent, yet resilient character that requires great inner strength from the singer. She is a silent and sempiternal evil that can adjust to every situation and make us see only the darkness in others. In the VCO’s production of the opera, Geneviève finally remains with Mélisande’s newborn baby girl – a ‘silent role’ entrusted to Ieva’s own baby girl – on her hands at the end of the performance. Children, family and music are the key pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of Ieva’s life as a mother, wife and professional singer pursuing a career at opera houses in Lithuania, Germany, Austria, and elsewhere.

Lina Dambrauskaitė performs Yniold’s aria in C. Debussy’s opera “Pelléas and Mélisande”
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4:02

There are good girls and there are bad. There is Kát’a Kabanová and there is Aušrinė Stundytė who undertook to portray her. The two are hardly comparable, though… Meanwhile Leoš Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová might be compared to an aggravated version of Žemaitė’s Daughter-in-law, which depicts a young woman torn between her moral conviction, responsibility and genuine feelings. The thorough psychological analysis of this role remains invisible to the audience and is well hidden under Aušrinė’s emotionally tense performance. Mathematics and strategic thinking are among the strengths of this soprano. Just like her special penchant for 20th century music, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Aušrinė appears in the leading roles at major opera venues like Opera national de Paris, La Fenice Venice, Berlin, Bayreusche, Wiener staatsoper, Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence Festivals.  The soloist is capable of embodying the roles that require the kind of devotion and mettle more characteristic of film actors. When at home in Belgium, Aušrinė diverts herself with… making drawings and installations.

Full recording of the opera “Pelléas and Mélisande” by C. Debussy can be found on LRT media library: 
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119948/c-debussy-opera-pelejas-ir-melisanda-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-iii-veiksmai
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119462/c-debussy-opera-pelejas-ir-melisanda-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-iv-v-veiksmai

Aušrinė Stundytė performs Káťa Kabanová’s aria “Videt se s nim” in L. Janáček’s opera “Káťa Kabanová”
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8:48

There are good girls and there are bad. There is Kát’a Kabanová and there is Aušrinė Stundytė who undertook to portray her. The two are hardly comparable, though… Meanwhile Leoš Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová might be compared to an aggravated version of Žemaitė’s Daughter-in-law, which depicts a young woman torn between her moral conviction, responsibility and genuine feelings. The thorough psychological analysis of this role remains invisible to the audience and is well hidden under Aušrinė’s emotionally tense performance. Mathematics and strategic thinking are among the strengths of this soprano. Just like her special penchant for 20th century music, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Aušrinė appears in the leading roles at major opera venues like Opera national de Paris, La Fenice Venice, Berlin, Bayreusche, Wiener staatsoper, Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence Festivals.  The soloist is capable of embodying the roles that require the kind of devotion and mettle more characteristic of film actors. When at home in Belgium, Aušrinė diverts herself with… making drawings and installations.

Full recording of the opera “Káťa Kabanová” by L. Janáček can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119468/opera-katia-kabanova-rez-d-ibelhauptaite

Audrius Rubežius atlieka Pirelio ariją iš S. Sondheimo miuziklo „Svynis Todas: Demonas Kirpėjas“
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7:07

Motinos užguitas, žmoną Katią mylintis, bet apginti ir išgelbėti nesugebėjęs Tichonas – vienas ryškiausių Audriaus Rubežiaus vaidmenų. Kuklių ir tamsių „Katios Kabanovos“ dekoracijų fone sodriomis spalvomis atsiskleidė tenoro aktorystės gylis bei pašaukimas XX a. operos muzikai. Matę jo kuriamus Šokių mokytojo („Manon Lesko“) ar Pirelio („Svynis Todas“) vaidmenis, įsivaizduotų kupiną energijos, hiperbolizuotą personažą. Tačiau koncentruotos emocijos ir sutvardyta fizinė raiška Audriaus personažui suteikė tylaus vidinio dramatiškumo. Nepamainomu rekvizitu tapo Tichono akiniai, lyg Holivudo aktoriui padėdavę solistui įsijausti į rolę. Dirbant su Audriumi atrodo, jog kuo personažas keistesnis, tuo jis šiam scenos vilkui įdomesnis, keliantis naujų ir įdomių iššūkių.

Pilną L. Janáčeko operos „Katia Kabanova“ įrašą galite peržiūrėti LRT mediatekoje: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119468/opera-katia-kabanova-rez-d-ibelhauptaite

 

Asmik Grigorian performs Leonora’s aria in G. Verdi’s opera “The Troubadour”
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10:45

If Ostap Bender were one of the characters in Sweeney Todd, Mrs. Lovett would definitely outsmart him… When “times is hard” and famine rages in town, “eminently practical” solutions are to be sought: as Sweeney goes on his killing spree, dead bodies start piling up in his shaving parlour, meanwhile the pastry chef from the bakeshop below is in dire need of meat for making her pies. Now, there’s an idea!

It took months of exhausting work for Asmik Grigorian to learn Mrs. Lovett’s complicated part, with much of it written in patter song. Moreover, she had to adopt cockney accent for it, despite the fact that she only knew a few words in English at the time. And nobody had any inkling of that! The daughter of Gegham Grigorian and Irena Milkevičiūtė used to race down the corridors of La Scala as a child and grew up to become one of the world’s most sought-after sopranos, having anchored her title as the best female opera soloist in the 2019 International Opera Awards. The path Asmik chose might be the thorniest – that of honest, painstaking and ceaseless work. She uses her family name not as an excuse but rather as an incentive to pursue her ultimate goal – to sound like a legend. The next three years will see Asmik singing main roles in all five of the biggest opera houses in the world.

Full recording of the opera “ The Troubadour” by G. Verdi can be found on LRT media library: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119512/g-verdi-opera-trubaduras-rez-dalia-ibelhauptaite

Rafailas Karpis performs Tobias’ aria from “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber” by S. Sondheim
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4:08

Sometimes the roles written for children turn out to be… not childish at all. Toby from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber is just like that. An orphaned boy is taken in by Mrs. Lovett as an apprentice lad in her bakeshop selling meat pies stuffed with human remains. Having known no motherly love as a child, Toby becomes deeply attached to Mrs. Lovett, thinking of her as a surrogate mother. After seeing Todd kill her, Toby goes insane with shock and horror and repays him evil for evil. Toby is probably the most sensitive and tragic character in this musical. Rafailas Karpis has infused his character with a harum-scarum kind of playfulness and good humour, the dismal sorrow and a big heart. And what’s more, he sang in near-perfect English, which he has learnt due too his long time obsession with The Beatles. Admired by the audiences and highly valued by the opera directors, this tenor stands out for his ability to leave a trace of his personality in each of his roles.

Full recording of the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber” by S. Sondheim can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119458/s-sondheim-opera-svynis-todas-demonas-kirpejas-rez-dalia-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119457/s-sondheim-opera-svynis-todas-demonas-kirpejas-rez-dalia-ibelhauptaite-ii-d

Jeronimas Milius atlieka grupės Soul Stealer dainą „Won’t You Stay“
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3:41

Lyg „iš kitos operos“ į VCO atklydęs Jeronimas Milius papildė trupę netradiciniuose „bohemiečių“ projektuose, įgydamas neįkainojamos patirties dabartinei karjerai miuzikle. Jeronimo biografijoje – skirtingi, nelengvai suderinami žanrai – sunkusis metalas, miuziklas, elektroninė opera. Be stipraus vokalo, Jeronimas turi ir atominį energijos užtaisą, scenoje virstantį jo, o kartais ir kolegų vaidmenų varomąja jėga. Būtent to reikėjo Antoniui – jaunam jūreiviui, grįžusiam į Londoną ir įsimylėjusiam namo lange pamatytą gražuolę. Nepatyręs atlapaširdis ir tamsios neteisybės užgrūdintas mylimosios tėvas Svynis tampa bendražygiais. Miuzikle S. Sondheimas įsimylėjėlius Antonį ir Džoaną palieka gyvus – kaip geresnio pasaulio viltį.

Lauryna Bendžiūnaitė performs Cunegonde’s aria in L. Bernstein’s opera “Candide“
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7:02

It is difficult to pigeonhole Lauryna Bendžiūnaitė or her Pamina using everyday terms and clichéd approaches to the role she performs. At first sight Pamina is a fragile princess, found and rescued by a prince. Mozart, however, interlaced her portrait with plenty of tiny eloquent details that give away her true individuality. Lauryna is more like an ice princess, and her glass-shattering soprano sounds like a hail storm. Her singing is sheer energy that should be tamed onstage. It seems that Pamina’s dress made of 3,500 buttons served the purpose just fine… The good news is that Lauryna is usually calm and focused backstage. People at the Royal Swedish Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, and many other venues in France and Switzerland can testify to that firsthand.

 

Egidijus Dauskurdis performs Sarastro’s aria from “The Magic Flute” by W. A. Mozart
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2:26

Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute, which has caused a great deal of speculation regarding its Masonic symbolism and meaning, is often interpreted as an allegorical fairy-tale. The prince finds himself lost in an unknown country and discovers the abducted princess in captivity. Together and separately, they go through many trials that end in their triumph as virtuous kings of the new world. But still the real mastermind behind the plot is Sarastro performed in the VCO production by Egidijus Dauskurdis. His voice is well accustomed to the role of a wise ruler, which is quite multifaceted and ambiguous, to say the least. Each character in this opera has a different image of Sarastro, or more accurately, sees in his solemn dignity what he or she fears most. There is nothing to fear about Egidijus, though. His ability to cheer up his colleagues endows each of his characters with light and humility. This happens literally every time he puts on Sarastro’s costume that weighs 30 kilograms and dazzles everyone around with glittering gold.

Full recording of the opera “The Magic Flute” by W. A. Mozart can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119453/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119450/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d

Arūnas Malikėnas performs Monostatos aria in W. A. Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”
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1:14

The Lithuanian opera world would be a much poorer place without Arūnas Malikėnas. It’s not just his baritone, but the man himself who wins over his audiences, with his admirable flexibility as an actor. It would be hard to find another performer who could portray both comic and tragic heroes to such riveting effect. For each of his memorable caricatures, for example, for Sarastro’s henchman Monostatos in The Magic Flute, Arūnas creates life-like characterizations. At his behest the duplicitous fraud who guards the abducted Princess Pamina acquires features that make him appear, if not attractive, then at least deserving a forgiving smile from the viewers. He is not only capable of deft manoeuvring across the spectrum of dramatic genres but also demonstrating a broad vocal range and fluency in diverse musical styles. Appearances of this award-winning soloist are steeped in experience, which is both fascinating and inspiring.

Full recording of the opera “The Magic Flute” by W. A. Mozart can be found on LRT media library:
Part I https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119453/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-i-d
Part II https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/2000119450/opera-uzburtoji-fleita-rez-d-ibelhauptaite-ii-d

Vladimiras Prudnikovas performs Philip’s aria in G. Verdi’s opera “Don Carlos“
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8:00

Having received the country’s highest accolades for his artistic achievements, Vladimiras Prudnikovas might be considered the epitomy of a living history of Lithuanian music. You even might not be aware of the fact that you have heard his memorable, thunderous bass. Some of the often imperious roles he sang might seem even frightening. You might not know the large number of his students who pursue their careers on the international opera scene. His caring nature as a teacher was best revealed in the role of Le Bailli from Jules Massenet’s Werther. In the VCO’ production Prudnikovas came up with a warm-hearted portrayal of Charlotte’s father whose daughter is having a thwarted love affair with the young poet Werther. His vigorous chasing after the children’s chorus not only fulfilled the director’s expectations but also exposed the attentive and self-effacing side of his personality rarely seen onstage. Another astonishing feature was his yet undiscovered talent for painting, which he has demonstrated by drawing amazing sketches amidst the action.

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