Osvaldas Grinius
www.kamane.lt 2008 07 08  

Photos by Laimis Brundza

In brief: Kaunas met the long first festive weekend of July by the seventh international festival “Operetta at Kaunas Castle”. The festival that started the cycle of concerts by the show of a bag-pipe band New Ross & District Pipe Band on June 29 lured to the weekend concerts by the undisputable shine of stars; therefore, the trusting spectator could leave his/her umbrella at home for sure: no rain should fall.

Two evenings at Kaunas castle offered two concerts of solid duration, with conceptual programmes based on particular ideas. The first evening was dedicated to a guest genre according to the tradition – the Spanish operetta zarzuela this year.

The programme of the concert dedicated to zarzuela was interesting and purposeful. One may only regret that the zarzuela became the guest not only of the festival but of the first concert at Kaunas Castle as well. Works of this genre did not dominate during the evening; on the other hand, the variety of performers and genres satisfied the taste of diverse audience layers.

Arias and duets from zarzuelas were sung by performers painted in the brightest colours in the advertisement campaign: the soprano Nomeda Kazlauskaitė-Kazlaus and tenor from Spain Oscar Marin. As the genre of zarzuela is passionate and whimsical, the performers needed all possible means of expression. No secret that true and sincere feeling excites the audience the most; meanwhile, it is hard to say how much sincerity there was in the singing of N.Kazlauskaitė-Kazlaus. The impression of music performed by her did not equal to the effective apparel of the singer.

True, the voice of the soloist is strong and smooth in various diapasons, the upper register is rich and powerful. One could notice that the soloist used the aesthetics based on active signing and forte dynamics leaving more subtle nuances of timbre aside. However, the behaviour of the soloist overwhelmed the sonorous voice. The arrogance chosen by the singer testified from the first song that she was the real star and that nobody should doubt it.

The guest from Spain O.Marin surprised the audience by similar behaviour. It is even more astonishing that listeners accepted such rules of the game. Observing reactions of the audience, it was clear that they believed the titles of stars. The voice of O.Marin has a beautiful and noble timbre, it is controlled technically, the performer is capable of achieving subtle and pleasant colours; still, the sonorous and impressive high notes could not be performed without faults. Even the physical attempts to disguise this drawback did not help O.Marin to draw attention to other things.

Meanwhile, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia and European countries that played in both concerts is worth praising. Having in mind that it is not a regularly rehearsing orchestra, it is possible to evaluate its performance by the highest mark. The programme of the festival was extensive and the load of the orchestra players was big; therefore, the positive impression about it is even bigger. The musicians appeared to be real celebrities of the Spanish evening by their sincere and professional music performance. The orchestra was controlled reliably by the plastic gestures of the conductors Julius Geniušas and Jonas Janulevičius.

The programme of Sunday concert also had a clearly defined concept – extracts from operettas performed in Lithuania for the first time should have been presented according to the announcements. Still, the organisers did not succeed to maintain the idea of the programme pure – well-known music pieces resounded enabling the audience that did not crave for novelties to relax. Even though one could doubt the persistent value of some music pieces, it was interesting to listen to unheard some arias, duets and ensembles.

Although the festival and its final concert was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the operetta genre, the creative heritage of the initiator of the genre Jacques Offenbach was honoured only by several music pieces performed by the owner of sonorous and expressive tenor Edmundas Seilius and Kristina Zmailaitė, who slightly overestimated her powers.

The biggest part of the concert was dedicated to the traditional German and Austrian operetta. The majority of works were performed in German. Raminta Vaicekauskaitė, Algirdas Janutas, Mindaugas Zimkus could be thanked for precise pronunciation, high-quality vocal and well-considered interpretations. Arias performed by Gitana Pečkytė, Raimonda Tallat-Kelpšaitė, Giedrė Juknevičiūtė sounded precisely and pleasantly. Nomeda Vilkanauskaitė, Laimonas Pautienius, Žanas Voronovas appeared to be expressive actors and interpreters of the operetta genre.

Raimondas Baranauskas was exceptional by the technical control of his voice and sincere singing; the march performed by Tomas Ladiga energetically received attention of the audience. All these performers represented the operetta genre worthily under the conduction of J.Geniušas, Virgilijus Visockis and J.Janulevičius; the quality of their performance was not worse than that of the invited singers in the majority of cases.

The guests of the Sunday concert dedicated to operetta were Polish soloists: soprano Ivona Socha and tenor Dariusz Stachura. They were conducted by the guest from the Ukraine Oksana Madarash. The woman controlled the orchestra wonderfully. I.Socha appeared to be the owner of light soprano, who has a wish to become a performer of heroic parts. Meanwhile, most probably the majority of the audience did not even know that the tenor D.Stachura was sometimes titled the “Polish Pavarotti”. The show of the tenor did not deny or confirm the validity of this statement. Of course, this was because of the repertoire most probably, as the great Italian vocalist simply did not sing such pieces.

Before the climax of the concert, Lithuanian performers famous at home and abroad stepped on the stage one by one, and the audience saw the international show “whose star is bigger” organised by N.Kazlauskaitė-Kazlaus ir O.Marino again near the end of the concert. Still, when the constant guest of the festival Virgilijus Noreika stepped on the stage, everything appeared in place. It became clear immediately who the real stars-talents were and who were brass decorations polished by advertisement. Stage culture and expressive vocal spoke for itself.

Thus, the old truth could be remembered during the operetta festival: the real star is not the one that is advertised loudly and that advertises himself/herself. The real stars shine from inside of personality. No matter how much attempts are made to persuade people by advertisements that the presented is good, the simple truth becomes clear later – acid offered even for free may not turn into sugar.

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