This year the international festival „Operetta at Kaunas Castle“ greets and delights its admirers, Lithuanian and foreign participants, as well as loyal sponsors, for fifteenth years in a row already. The organizers inviting this abundant amount of admirers to the new gatherings admit that without them this event would have never gained such great recognition. Upon united efforts of all the operetta admirers this festival holds a respectable place among the abundance of cultural summer events in Lithuania.
The significant support from sponsors provide us with endless inspiration for ideas and musical colors for new programs. They grant the possibility for Kaunas locals and guests to see and to hear the free concerts by the performers of highest excellence.
This summer, on the occasion of the festival’s anniversary, we invite you all to the retrospect of the past years, where various musical styles and genres, variously themed concert programs, the well-acquainted and the new performers meet again.
Laimutė Kuzmickaitė Milašienė
Gediminas Maciulevičius, Danielius Vėbra, Benjaminas Želvys
For the fifteenth time already, the organizers of the international festival “Operetta at Kaunas Castle 2016” have invited us to a music festival sparkling with the colors of summer. Just like every year, the programs of the events and concerts feature performers representing various Lithuanian and foreign art schools and cultures, who present a varicolored mosaic of both popular and rare stage music to the loyal admirers of this festival.
It has been for several years in a row that the first concerts of the festival take place as early as May, while the last chords of the festival echo in the end of September. The prelude of the festival’s symphony of events is an ever-new concert program that sounds among graceful architectural ensembles in the sanctuary of natural surroundings. The opening concert of the festival already took place on May 27 in the Arts Incubator of Raudondvaris where the popular chamber orchestra of the Vytautas Magnus University, headed by the chief conductor Jonas Janulevičius (who, as the matter of fact, has orchestrated the greater part of the musical pieces of the program himself) has presented the new concert program savouring with the hot temperament of the South, called “Sparkling Colors, Rhythms, and Passion”. Along with this orchestra, two instrumentalists also made their debut appearance – the virtuoso of clarinet Andrius Bernotaitis and a promising master of accordion Laimonas Salijus. This manly group was joined by a singer Andrius Apšega. The concert program included melodies and hot-tempered rhythms by composers Andre Mehmari, Wolfgang Schröder, Aram Chachaturian, Richard Strauss, Richard Galliano, Maurice Ravel, Jacques Ibert, and Enrico Cannio.
This program was also performed in one more region of Lithuania – on May 28, in the hall of Alanta Technology and Business School. The audience from this region already got acquainted with the programs by the Operetta festival the previous year, so the organizers committed to present a no less cheerful spectacle this year as well.
On July 24 the people of Vilkija town and its guests will have a wonderful opportunity to delight in the melodies by the „king of waltz“ Johann Strauss, performed by the well-known singers of the young generation – Ieva Goleckytė, Ingrida Kažemėkaitė, Andrius Apšega, Egidijus Bavikinas, and Povilas Padleckis, who will be accompanied by the VDU chamber orchestra. This “Afternoon with Strauss” will take place in the magnificent architectural vicinity – the St. George church of Vilkija.
The special guest of this year’s festival “Operetta at Kaunas Castle” – the brass horn orchestra from St. Petersburg, founded and headed by the conductor Sergei Polyanichko. This collective gained a worldwide recognition with its unique sounds made by the winds instruments, which are mostly uncommon for the stage. The very title of these instruments – brass horns – is surprising, how it is possible to perform all the different works – from well-known classics to the creations of the 21st century composers. One can see and experience this miracle in the concert on July 6 in Arts Incubator of Raudondvaris. The host and presenter of this event is actor Ramūnas Šimukauskas.
Both of the main grand concerts of the festival at the Kaunas castle are a retrospect of the past years’ concerts. On July 5 and 6, the lovers of the festival will meet all the musical stage genres, valued by the organizers of the festival. Among them: opera, ballet, operetta, musical, songs from motion pictures, popular melodies, which will be performed by an astounding group of Lithuanian singers, as well as guests from Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and the USA. The ballet genre this year will be represented by the guest stars from Ukraine, a unique ballet soloist duet possessing the highest skill of excellence Yanina Sazonova and Mikhail Botzok. Just like every year, the performers will be accompanied by the festival’s joined symphonic orchestra consisting of musicians from the Music Academies of VDU and St. Petersburg, conducted by the festival’s chief conductor Jonas Janulevičius and his colleagues – Julius Geniušas, Virgilijus Visockis, Erki Pehk (Estonia), Oksana Madarash (Ukraine), Aleksei Vasiliev (Russia). The artistic director of the concerts is Kęstutis S. Jakštas.
In the concert of July 5 the audience will also see the special guest performance by St. Petersburg‘s brass horn orchestra.
A beautiful tradition will continue on July 6. At 9 p. m. all the participants, guests, and viewers together with Lithuanians from all around the world will sing the Lithuanian National Anthem to commemorate the day of the Coronation of the King Mindaugas. Those who participate in this experience every year admit that in that moment, when thousands of people sing the Anthem, an extraordinary feeling of solidarity, awareness, and alliance overwhelms them.
The singers of the young generation will perform the three different programs of the festival’s final concerts. A program of Neapolitan Songs will air on September 17 in Gelgaudiškis mansion. The meeting with the Musical creations of Johann Strauss will take place in the Business and Technology school of Alanta on September 23. The last accords of the festival “Operetta is my Love” will sound on September 25 in the Arts Incubator of Raudondvaris. These concerts will feature the chamber orchestra of VDU, singers, and conductor Jonas Janulevičius.
The events at the Kaunas castle will be hosted by the crowd-pleaser, actor, host of state and festive events and TV shows – Gintaras Mikalauskas – who is cooperating with the operetta festival since its very first concert, along with his charming assistant Ieva Vaznelytė who has joined Gintaras in 2007.