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2017 02 19

It is symbolic that Kaunas State Choir returns to the stage exactly in the staging of “Faust” intended to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Vilnius City Opera. The choir led by Petras Bingelis had worked together with Dalia Ibelhauptaitė in the staging of “Pagliacci” that was even earlier than “La Bohème”. Later male part of the choir joined the staging of “Il Trovatore”. This time the mixed choir will join the young generation of Vilnius City Opera ensemble and become the portrait of the 19th century Paris society covering different characters, types and even completely unexpected personalities.

Director Dalia Ibelhauptaitė, speaking about the collaboration with Kaunas State choir, tells: “In “Faust” Kaunas State Choir comprises the basis of all the biggest choral scenes. They were always famous for their high vocal professionality cultivated by maestro Petras Bingelis whose experience in the field of music is a real treasure and our collective is very happy having the possibility to create together with the best professionals in this field that are famous for their works far beyond Lithuania. So, we knew that they are capable to perform the most complicated pieces but even could not dream that the choir will transform itself into such suggestible actors that are moving on the stage and create interesting, distinctive and individual characters. Their work in “Faust” is a triumph achieved by long-lasting and hard work, devotion to the idea of acting and once again proves that people who have artistic souls know no limits.

I am greatly surprised by the fantasy of every choir singer, the stories of characters created by them, mini-plots that so organically intertwine into many-stage actions in all their scenes and reach my ideal – acting on the stage like in the cinema where you can shoot every personage like a separate story. And furthermore it mingles with the perfect vocal! That’s why the strength of all the massive scenes of “Faust” just tears down the roof of the Congress Palace! It seems to me that for them every appearing on the stage means a great feast and that light and positive energy the choir transmits to every viewer. This is not the first common project of Vilnius City Opera and Kaunas State Choir and I greatly hope that journeys from Kaunas to Vilnius and back will become more and more often. It is so wonderful to create the common world with the people who feel happy because of that…” In fact, being not able to prescind from the mass of different personages and costumes, we got interested in several individual stories of choir singers and their experience working together with Vilnius City Opera that are hiding behind them. As Zenonas Butkevičius who has been working together with Dalia Ibelhauptaitė already in “Pagliacci” and later in the “Il Trovatore” told us, at first it may be difficult in opera: “After all, we – choir singers are people of quite static profession, meanwhile the world of opera is completely different. Here it is plenty of action and furthermore you are creating a personage and one day you may be an aristocrat and the other – a poor fellow. This time Zenonas got the role of the vendor that he accepted with all challenges and particularity: “Yes, it happened to me to appear behind the bar and I think that in the future my attitude towards barmen will be different. While preparing for the performances I understood that in fact the barmen has to “tame” trays, glasses and cups, to manage them and not to allow them to manage him. This is an interesting experience just like the previous common projects with Dalia Ibelhauptaitė team and for me it is very interesting to take part in them.

“Faust” appeared to be the performance of the decade not only for Vilnius City Opera but as well for the choir singer Inga Gudavičienė for whom this opera crowns her ten years anniversary of working in Kaunas State Choir: “I am very happy because of the opportunity to take part in the opera of such a high rank, to be together with such people and contribute in creating such a wonderful spectacle.” Inga concedes that the work with the “bohemians” astonished her. Having worked in Kaunas Musical Theatre she shared bright and different impressions: “Peculiarity of the work is different, indeed. In the staging of operettas in Kaunas Musical Theatre that I had opportunity to participate, the choir and the orchestra were to separate wings. Directors work more with soloists there and in Vilnius City Opera every choir artist is revealed as the hero who has its’ own story and realizes it in opera. And the atmosphere here is very domestic, communication is warm and you really feel that here we are one family and you can ascertain that the star of the highest scale is communicating with everybody very naturally. Such things ensure more comfort on the stage it becomes pleasant to act because you receive the response from every person who is present on the stage. Opera becomes a light in the repertoire of Kaunas State Choir that enables us not only to move on but as well to reveal our theatrical skills.

Robertas Jančkaitis who as well has considerable scenic experience and had worked in Kaunas Musical Theatre as well appreciates particularity of the role given to the choir: “Differently than in it is common, in the performances of Vilnius City Opera the choir is not only a seconder, one that just “noddles”, here every person is a micro-performance. I have not met such practice anywhere. I think this is why such an interesting and spectacular final result is obtained. Already in the beginning of the rehearsals there is a main plan of scenic actions prepared but we are asked and allowed to create our own characters, stories that and fill that scheme. In fact you contribute to the creative process. There is no doubt that a professional before coming to the rehearsal must be acquainted not only with the music but as well with the plot. In this case even the French language itself, clear pronunciation and its nuances that as well help to convey idea to the viewers became very important.” Robertas claims that such practice on the stage encourages being not afraid of making mistakes and to always have the second variant prepared, to know one’s actions precisely but never be afraid of improvising: “In such a way creativity is encouraged, especially in such cases when you must “unwind” from the situation not making the viewer understand that on the stage something went not according to the plan. In life many things as well happen not according to the plan, accidentally – I know this for sure because my musical way started just like this… One day I was just walking through Kaunas Old Town and heard someone singing beautifully. I entered to inquire and it appeared to be the Music Conservatoire where I later studied, then entered Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy and today it is already ten years as I am a baritone of Kaunas State Choir…”