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Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera I Lituani

Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera I Lituani

Live recording of the concert performance of the opera at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall took place on 5 September 2020. The performance was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society and the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra.
2021 February 15, Monday, 19.00
The Lithuanian National Philharmonic on the Internet, Vilnius
Organizer:

Recording available on www.nationalphilharmonic.tv, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Facebook, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Digital Hall Facebook and YouTube channel. 

Download event information

Synopsis: https://bit.ly/2OsdLKS

Performers
JŪRATĖ ŠVEDAITĖ-WALLER (soprano, USA) – Aldona
MICKAEL SPADACCINI (tenor, Belgium) – Corrado, Walter
ARŪNAS MALIKĖNAS (baritone) – Vitoldo
MODESTAS SEDLEVIČIUS (baritone) – Arnoldo
TADAS GIRININKAS (bass) – Albano
KAUNAS STATE CHOIR
(late artistic director and principal conductor Petras Bingelis)
Programme
Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera I Lituani

 

 

 

 

AMILCARE PONCHIELLI – Opera I Lituani (libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni after Adam Mickiewicz’s poem Konrad Wallenrod; concert performance)

February 16th festive broadcast will feature the most notable excerpts from the opera

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On the occasion of February 16th, we revisit and present the audience with Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera I Lituani, which opened the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society’s jubilee, 80th, concert season.

The opera’s concert performance was made possible by the LNSO, conducted by maestro Modestas Pitrėnas, and internationally acclaimed soloists: Jūratė Švedaitė-Waller, Mickael Spadaccini, Arūnas Malikėnas, Modestas Sedlevičius and Tadas Girininkas, as well as the Kaunas State Choir, the LNSO’s long-time companion.

This profound opus of the world opera repertoire has many a time stood as a symbol for Lithuania’s important dates (ex., in 2009 the production was mounted in Trakai Castle as the premiere of Vilnius Opera Festival; on February 16, 2012, this opus was presented at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre). I Lituani ponders on the greatness of the past of our country, as Ponchielli, the 19th century Italian composer, Verdi’s contemporary and Puccini’s teacher, chose Adam Mickiewicz’s poem Konrad Wallenrod for the plot of the opera. On the other hand, the opera’s text resonates with the ideological manipulations and political conflicts of our time and thus remains relevant even in the 21st century. As a reminder, the opera's world premiere took place at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 7 March 1874.

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I LITUANI

Synopsis

Place: Lithuania (prologue), Marienburg (acts 1-3)

Time: 14th century

Corrado Wallenrod, actually a Lithuanian named Walter who is impersonating a loyal Teutonic Knight, allows the Lithuanians to win against the Teutons by executing a long-planned misdirection. Aldona, his wife who has entered a convent, searches for her beloved Walter, and finds him just before he is sentenced to death for his deception.

Prologue

From the battlements of a castle in Lithuania, Albano, an aged oracle, moans that his country is being destroyed by the Teutons. Aldona, a Lithuanian princess, wonders about her brother, Arnoldo, and Walter, her husband, and invites everyone to pray. Arnoldo and Walter return and announce a heinous betrayal by Vitoldo, one of their leaders, which has led to the defeat of the Lithuanian army. Walter tells his wife about his plan to prevail over the Teutonic Knights, and swears his eternal love for her before leaving to avenge for the Lithuanians.

Act 1

Ten years later, in the cathedral square of Marienburg, the Teutonic Knights celebrate the new Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Corrado Wallenrod, who is actually Walter. Vitoldo is furious, because he believes he should be the Grand Master. Ten Lithuanian prisoners in chains are brought to be sacrificed in Corrado’s honour at the celebration; Arnoldo is one of them. Corrado unexpectedly frees them, and afterwards Arnoldo realizes that the Grand Master is, in fact, Walter. Arnoldo runs into his sister, Aldona, who has come to Marienburg, hoping to find Walter. Albano, Arnoldo, and Aldona set out to locate Walter in the castle.

Act 2

In the grand hall of the Marienburg castle, where the celebration in honour of the Grand Master is being held, Corrado Wallenrod invites everyone to dance and sing. Arnoldo and Aldona, disguised as bards, sing about the sad fate of Lithuania, predicting its imminent liberation. The Teutonic Knights object, and Corrado hurls himself towards Arnoldo, while Aldona tries to separate them. Wallenrod orders the knights to sheath their swords, and Albano tries to convince Corrado not to give his true identity away. However, Vitoldo recognizes Aldona, but Corrado orders the judgement against Aldona and Arnoldo be adjourned so that the celebration can continue.

Act 3

Aldona comes out of the ruins of a cloister, where a battle between the Lithuanians and Teutonic Knights is taking place nearby. She meets Walter, and hopes for a happy future of their love, but Walter has been betrayed for causing the defeat of the Teutonic Knights by the Lithuanians. Later, back in the castle, Albano tells Walter that a secret court has sentenced Walter to death. Rather than falling into enemy hands, Walter drinks poison and exults in the victory of the Lithuanians, asking Albano to give Aldona his last farewell. Aldona arrives, and Walter dies in her arms. The  Divine Spirit of Lithuania arrives to welcome the glorious warrior’s soul. Everyone sings: “Chi per la patria muore / Eterna fama avrà”: “Who dies for the homeland / Eternal fame will have”.

 

 
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