Osvaldas Grinius
www.kamane.lt 2008 02 06

Irena Milkevičiūtė. Photo from www.bernardinai.lt

In brief: The solo recital of a singer is a rare and almost vanishing phenomenon in the Lithuanian music life, not to speak about a concert of an opera soloist on a theatre stage. This is why the evening of opera stars duets, which took place at Kaunas Musical Theatre on January 29, should have become a beautiful gift for admirers of belcanto.


It is possible to guess that the continuous project of the pianist Rimgaudas Mickus has a clearly formulated aim – to present the creative works of one of the most famous Lithuanian prima donnas Irena Milkevičiūtė. One of the most outstanding Lithuanian tenors Algirdas Janutas assisted for the singer as an equal partner during this concert.


Soprano and tenor – these human voices render the human feelings, passions, experiences and reflect their lyrical origin the best. The programme of the concert was concentrated on showing the wide spectrum of human passions - from pure love to vehement feeling of revenge. The most vivid parts from G.Puccini, G.Verdi, P.Mascagni, V.Bellini operas have been chosen. However, only two of the promised arias were performed: Mimi and Rudolf arias from G.Puccini opera “La Bohème”.


The famous soprano of I.Milkevičiūtė and individual, sincere interpretations of the singer have been chosen as the focus of the concert. Still, some illness or other factors turned the soft line of lyrical singing into a fight arena. Meanwhile, the owner of the sonorous tenor A.Janutas is on the peak of his creative powers. Smooth voice, subtle lyrical episodes and expressive phrasing impressed during the concert. Only the highest notes revealed that the performer was not of the best vocal form during the evening.


These factors determined that the dramatic lines of the concert were developed very slowly and the climax was reached only in almost the last work – in the duet of Santuca and Turido from P.Mascagni opera “Cavalleria Rusticana”. Here the voices sounded impressively and the characters were revealed very brightly. The soloists proved by this work that they were worth the epithets of opera grands and stars. The final accent of the concert – the lyrical duet of Violeta and Alfred “Parigi, o cara” from G.Verdi opera “La Traviata” sounded almost irreproachably.


The pianist R.Mickus who accompanied the soloists during the evening performed his work diligently and honesty. The instrument did not dwarf the voices, the climaxes were prepared in time, more lyrical episodes were introduced with taste.


Thus, the idea of the concert was really good, the programme – inspiring and rich, the support of the audience – enthusiastic. Only very little was lacking to the required level: favourable conditions from which singers are directly dependent. One would not really like to add a prefix “ex” before the description “opera stars” as actually this would not be true.

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