www.kamane.lt, 2011-07-15

Justina Paltanavičiūtė

Photos by Evaldas Butkevičius

In brief: The festival Operetta at Kaunas Castle organised in Kaunas annually celebrated the jubilee of ten years this year. The chamber opening of the festival took place in the garden of Kaunas Musical Theatre on the 26th of June, while the main concerts were given to admirers of popular operas, operettas and musicals at Kaunas Castle on the 5th and 6th of July.

Really many famous Lithuanian and neighbouring countries' soloists and conductors participated in the festival of this year, the students' symphony orchestra of Russia and European countries played, state choir Vilnius, Giunter Percussion, step dance group Funny Beat, Kaunas State Musical Theatre choir and dancers participated in the concerts.

The programme was carefully pre-planned for the jubilee festival, and the organisers did not succeed to plan only one thing – the weather so important for an open-air festival. Rain accompanied all concerts; still, it did not scare operetta admirers.

The first concert of the festival (which took place on the 26th of June) was more modest and chamber, perhaps even slightly unusual. No arias from favourite operas and operettas were performed: the concert was given by the state choir Vilnius and soloists Viktorija Miškūnaitė (soprano), Algirdas Janutas (tenor), Jurgita Narušytė (soprano).The piano (Dainius Jozėnas) accompanied the choir instead of the orchestra, sometimes the double-bassist (Donatas Bagurskas), guitarist (Saulius Lipčius) and percussionists (Pavelas Giunteris and Tomas Kulikauskas) joined the ensemble. It is plausible that a more interesting programme and not a very traditional ensemble was chosen for the first concert of the festival. The concert kept the balance between the serious and entertaining music. Unfortunately, it seemed that operetta admirers found the concert rather boring on a rainy afternoon.

The ones who love well-known extracts from operas, operettas and musicals could enjoy such music during concerts on the 5th and 6th of July. Conductors and performers, arias, duets and other pieces changed so quickly and so many times during these concerts that it was hard to calculate all the participants. The only constant participants on the stage were the symphony orchestra of Russia and European countries and the announcers of the festival: Gintaras Mikalauskas and the charming soloist of Kaunas State Musical Theatre Ieva Vaznelytė.

The programme was formed from the most valuable pieces of the former festivals. Therefore, the most famous extracts from Romantic operas resounded (G. Rossini “The Barber of Sevile”, G. Puccini “Tosca”, G. Verdi “Rigoletto”, G. Bizet “Carmen”, “Pear Fishers”, P. Tchaikovsky “Evgeny Onegin”, etc.). Also, fragments of musicals of the 20th century (from “Aida” of E. John, “Jesus Christ Superstar” of A .L. Weber, “Les Misérables” of C. M. Schönberg, “Cathedral of Paris” of Richardo Cocciante, “Hunt for Fire with Teamsters” of G. Kuprevičius, etc.) and extracts from operettas of I.Kalman, J. Strauss and others were performed). Many soloists of Kaunas State Musical Theatre participated; listeners could hear and see many guests of previous festivals (conductors M. Staškus, V. Visockis, soloists V. Juozapaitis. K. Zmailaitė, E. Seilius, V. Noreika, etc.), performers of neighbouring countries among them (charming conductor O. Madarash (Ukraine) and her colleague S. Raldugin (Russia), soloists – modest R. Polisadov (Latvia), charismatic D. Stachura (Poland), playful Toni-Meibl and Silvia-Peler (Hungary)).

Some musicians performed sensitively and persuasively, while technical obstacles interfered with the performance of others – the rain was so heavy that even the equipment got wet. Some participants did not sound in high quality as some opuses appeared too complicated for them. Still, one should remember that the festival Operetta at Kaunas Castle is always free of charge, summerly, taking place in the open air; therefore, it is not too obliging. It is simply a wonderful possibility for classical stage music lovers to admirer music and their favourite performers. Evidently, the offer satisfied the demand, and this fact proves that the festival has deep traditions. Let's expect that it will live long.

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