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Vilnius Festival salutes the summer in the gardens of harmony

Vilnius Festival salutes the summer in the gardens of harmony


The approaching summer anticipates the Vilnius festival, one of Lithuania’s most significant events. Held on June 5–22 this year it will present ten original programmes. The Festival’s motto, Gardens of Harmony, will invite to taste the most diverse music produce. The Festival’s events will take place in the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre and St. Casimir Church. The tickets are already on sale.

The 21st Vilnius Festival opens on June 5thwith a concert, which will doubtlessly be a significant and memorable event in Lithuania. The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT) will host the Lithuanian debut of the opera superstar, Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča. Having conquered the world’s main theatres with her exceptionally beautiful voice and outstandingly intelligent musicality, Garanča is internationally recognised as one of today’s leading opera soloists. Together with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) she will delight the Vilnius Festival audience with arias from operas by Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, Verdi, Cilea and Mascagni and also Neapolitan songs. Garanča’s spouse Karel Mark Chichon, a British conductor collaborating with the world’s leading theatres and orchestras, will grace the podium.

On June 7th the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, the fixed participant of the Vilnius Festival, and its Principal Conductor Modestas Pitrėnas will offer the orchestral music programme Midnight Sun. The Lithuanian musicians will team up with Italian cellist Mario Brunello whose stunning international career was set out by his victory at the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1986. Tonight the Italian cellist will be entrusted with the solo part in the world premiere of Midnight Sun (the Festival’s commission) by Lithuanian composer Justė Janulytė. In addition, the concert programme will feature the fourth movement Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in C sharp minor. Due to its rivetingly melancholic endless melody Adagietto is often referred to as the quintessence of the lyric symphonic repertoire. The audience will also be offered two symphonic opuses by Mendelssohn.

On June 8th the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall will present Osvaldas Balakauskas’ musical odyssey. The chamber works by this doyen of Lithuanian music will be performed by the Lithuanian Ensemble Network (LENsemble), an ardent champion of the Lithuanian music led by composer Vykintas Baltakas. The LENsemble involves the leading Lithuanian performers. Together with Chordos String Quartet and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the LENsemble will offer an intriguing retrospective of Balakauskas’ chamber music starting 1997 as well as the premiere of his String quartet.

On June 9th and 11th the connoisseurs of opera will enjoy the premiere of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. Several years ago the international creative team of I Capuleti e i Montecchi has staged the opera inGran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and San Francisco Opera. The director Vincent Boussard and stage designer Vincent Lemaire are familiar to Lithuanian audience from the elegant and impressive production of Massenet’s Manon. This time they team up with Sesto Quatrini, a young and talented Italian Maestro, and conductor Robertas Šervenikas, the music director of the LNOBT. Costumes for the production were designed by Christian Lacroix, an esteemed French designer often dubbed the artist of the fashion world. The main roles will feature the recipients of Golden Cross of the Stage awards Eglė Šidlauskaitė and Viktorija Miškūnaitė; the production will also introduce a young soloist Aistė Pilibavičiūtė.  

On June 12th the audience will witness the meeting of Baroque and the 21st century: Johann Sebastian Bach and Ezio Bosso. The Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and its Artistic Director and violinist Sergej Krylov present Ezio Bosso, a London-based composer, conductor and pianist. Bosso’s music was presented by Ailey II (American Dance Theater) in Vilnius Festival 2012. In February 2016, he shared the Lithuanian National Philharmonic stage with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and was enthusiastically received by the Lithuanian audience. Thus, in an expectation of a warm audience tonight’s programme was intentionally named The Return of Ezio Bosso.

As a tradition, the Vilnius Festival hosts an eminent foreign orchestra. On June 14th the audience will be introduced to the Westdeutsche Rundfunk(WDR, western German Radio) Symphony Orchestra. Established in Cologne in 1947, the WDR has over the years earned an international acclaim and became the ambassador of music life of the North Rhine-Westphalia region. Many a world’s most illustrious conductor as well as the WDR SO’s music directors should be credited for the Orchestra’s exceptional reputation, professionalism and impressive history. Finn Jukka-Pekka Saraste began his tenure as the WDR SO’s music director in 2010-2011. Tonight the WDR will share the stage with an illustrious French cellist Gautier Capuçon. The concert programme features works by Beethoven, Dvořák and Brahms.  

This year the Vilnius Festival’s recital is going to be breath-taking. On June 15th the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall will host Rudolf Buchbinder, the legendary Austrian pianist! His creative career has spanned for more than 50 years, his discography amounts to more than 100 CDs, many of which have won awards. Buchbinder especially cherishes Beethoven’s music; the pianist has even authored a book My Beethoven – Life With the Master. Beethoven and his Appassionata will become the axis of this concert. The pianist will also indulge the audience in his readings of works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Schubert.

The Vilnius Festival will be enriched by a concert featuring organ, the most impressive instrument of all times. On June 17th the St. Casimir Church organ will be played by Hayo Boerema, a winner of international competitions, the principal organist of the St. Laurenskerk in Rotterdam, the professor in improvisation at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Tonight’s programme embraces Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces as well as contemporary opuses and improvisations by the Maestro. Bu the way, the admission to this concert is free.

On June 19th the Vilnius Festival presents an exceptional gift to the early music connoisseurs – a concert by Il Giardino ArmonicoEnsemble, an internationally acclaimed Italian collective active for more than 30 years, and its Artistic Director and soloist Giovanni Antonini (the recorder). The Ensemble’s repertoire is mainly focused on the works from the 17th and 18th centuries. The early music experts unanimously praise Il Giardino Armonico for both concert appearances and baroque opera productions. For the Vilnius Festival’s audience Il Giardino Armonico offers works by Vivaldi and other Italian masters from the 16th–18th centuries.

The Festival will culminate with an exotic performance of Dadadadan Tenko drummers from Japan. On June 22nd the LNOBT will host the closing of the Vilnius Festival with the Japanese dance and percussion show Snow, Moon and Flowers in which rhythm and movement depicting various states, moods and even rituals will be the main characters.

For more information on the Festival events:

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Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society

Address: Aušros vartų st. 5, LT-01304 Vilnius, Lietuva
Contact: tel. +370 5 266 52 10, fax. +370 5 266 52 66

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