Eduardas Kaniava (b. July 1, 1937 Klaipėda) – singer (baritone), cultural, political and social figure.
He was born in Klaipėda to a family of Stasys and Elena Kaniava. His father was a professional musician, played a wind instrument in the then forming Klaipėda Opera Theatre; mother was an amateur singer in various folk music ensembles. When Hitler occupied Klaipėda, the family moved to Šiauliai. After the war it settled in Kaunas. E. Kaniava was surrounded by music since childhood. Even though he did not attend a music school, he started playing piano at an early age. The family often visited the Opera Theatre.
In 1954, he graduated from the secondary school and entered the Veterinary Academy hoping to switch to the Medical Institute next year. He sang solo parts in the Academy’s male choir led by Andrius Kairys. Noticed at the concert and encouraged by K. Petrauskas, he entered the Lithuanian State Conservatoire in 1955, where he studied singing with Petras Oleka. He graduated from the Conservatoire in 1960.
The illustrious soloist commenced his solo career while still in the third year at the Conservatoire, when in 1957 he was invited to the then Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in J. Basanavičius street.
In 1958–1993, he was a soloist with the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre. He honed his skills with T. Kuusik in Tallinn, in 1966–1967 with Ch. Brymbarov in Sofia Opera Theatre (Bulgaria). E. Kaniava has appeared in over 40 roles, took part in over 2500 opera productions. His debut role was Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia and the last role – Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth (1995).
He was heard in almost all leading baritone roles – Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto in Rigoletto, Escamillo in Carmen, Germont in La traviata, Iago in Otello, Marquis de Poza in Don Carlo, Onegin in Eugene Onegin, Yeletsky in Queen of Spades, Aleko in Aleko, Porgy in Porgy and Bess, etc. The singer also appeared in Lithuanian operas: Ūdrys in V. Klova’s Pilėnai (Defenders of the Castle), Liščinskis in A. Račiūnas’ Saulės miestas (The City of the Sun), Marius in V.Laurušas’ Paklydę paukščiai (Stray Birds), Mackevičius in J.Juzeliūnas’ Sukilėliai (Insurgents). He made his last opera appearance in Rigoletto in 2008. E. Kaniava has given around 800 concerts in Lithuania and around the SSSR also in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, Havana, New York Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera in Australia, toured in more than 70 countries including Great Britain, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Indonesia, Venezuela, Argentina, Germany. Led open vocal lessons in music colleges in Sankt Petersburg (Russia) and Cologne (Germany).
In 1979–1981, he was a senior lecturer at the Lithuanian Conservatoire, in 1981 – an associate professor, 1988 – a professor, 1989–1992 – the head of the Vocal Department. In 1993–1994, he served as a professor at the Caracas Singing Academy (Venezuela). In 1994, he received a professorship from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Since 2005, E. Kaniava has been a Vocal Department teacher at the Klaipėda University Art Faculty. He is a member of both the Klaipėda University Senate and the Art Faculty evaluation commission. He has students at the Klaipėda University Art Faculty and the Klaipėda Musical theatre, where he is also a chairman of the Theatre Art Council.
Since 1995, he has been a member of the Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania. In 2000–2004, he served as a member of the Seimas (the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania), in 2001 – a member of the Commission for Ethics and Procedures of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, in 2004–2006 – a social advisor for culture in the cabinet of the Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.
E. Kaniava is a recipient of various awards: in 1964, he was granted the title of the Distinguished Artist of the Republic; in 1974 – the Peoples’ Artist of Lithuania; in 1979 – the Peoples’ Artist of the SSSR. The Society of the Friends of Opera of Lithuania honoured him with the Kipras statue. In 1992, the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge (England) announced him the Man of the Year; in 1997, he was decorated with the Order of 3rd Class of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; in 1998, in Germany he received Gottlob Frick Medal; in 2006, he was awarded the Governmental Culture and Art Prize.
Lord Enrico Ashton „Lucia di Lammermoor“
Porgy „Porgy and Bess“
Mercutio „Romeo et Juliette“
Antanas Mackevičius „Insurgents“
Marius „Stray Birds“
The King „Die Kluge“
Pantalone „The Love for Three Oranges“
Kazimieras Liščinskis „The City of the Sun“
Figaro „The Barber of Seville“
Count Peter Homonay „The Gipsy Baron“
Gabriel von Eisenstein „Die Fledermaus“
Ypsheim-Gindelbach „Wiener Blut“
Marquis of Posa „Don Carlos“
Germont „La Traviata“
Onegin „Eugene Onegin“
Prince Yeletsky „The Queen of Spades“