Juozas Indra (1918-1968)

Sound recordings
Sound recordings

Juozas Indra (until 1943 he was Juozas Padleckis) (born on 18 March 1918 in the village of Pavietava, the rural district of Jurbarkas  –  died on 14 March 1968 in Kaunas) was a singer (a lyric tenor), a composer and a conductor. The musician blessed with rare talents who left an indelible imprint in the history of Lithuanian culture, created 25 roles on the stage of Lithuanian opera, staged and conducted more than 30 performances, created original compositions of significance to the development of musical culture of Lithuania. 

Juozas Indra grew up in a large and melodious family and his musical talents were revealed early in his childhood.  He sang in his family choir formed by his brother Stasys, and at the age of 11–12 he sometimes acted as a leader of a choir for his brother, played in a wind orchestra organised by his brother Stasys. He had a perfect ear for music, was musical, having heard a composition played in a record, he was able to write down the parts of different instruments. He attended Armeniškiai primary school where his first appearance as a solo singer was made. In 1935, Juozas’ musicality was noticed by the Kapellmeister of the Kėdainiai regiment orchestra Bronius Jonušas who encouraged him to join the orchestra of the regiment. Hence, in 1936, upon arriving in Kėdainiai, Juozas became a member of the orchestra of the Third Infantry Regiment. In 1938, Juozas Indra was enrolled in the Vocal Department of the Kaunas Conservatory, Eugenijus Vittingas’ solo singing class. 

In 1942, while a fourth year student at the Conservatory,  Indra left his studies and went to Vilnius where the first opera troupe was being established. His first public appearance on the opera stage was in December of 1943 - Juozas Indra performed the role of Herzog in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto.  Juozas Indra created Almaviva in Gioachino Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville, Tebaldi in Charles Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet, Liutauras in Jurgis Karnavičius’ opera Gražina in Vilnius opera. He had excellent vocal abilities, a soft emotional voice, which his contemporaries compared to that of Kipras Petrauskas. He was artistic and therefore soon attracted attention of the musical society. 
On 21 August 1944, after the opera of the Theatre of city of Vilnius had joined the Kaunas State Theatre, Juozas Indra moved to Kaunas, continued his studies at the Conservatory, studied vocal with Petras Olekas, composition with Vladas Jakubėnas, Juozas Gruodis, and joined the opera troupe of the Kaunas State Theatre. Between 1945 and 1948, he was wrongly accused and deported to Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Vorkuta coal-mining camp. Soon he became seriously ill. Through the mediation of the authorities of the Lithuanian Opera Theatre the punishment imposed on Juozas Indra was commuted, he was allowed to sing in the Vorkuta Philharmonic Society and the Musical Theatre, where he also worked as a conductor’s assistant. Between 1948 and 1953, after he had returned from deportation, Juozas Indra lived and worked in Vilnius. He sang at the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre and soon became one of the leading tenors. He performed the following starring opera roles: Alfred in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La traviata, Romeo in Charles Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet, German in Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades, Prince Sinodal in Anton Rubinstein’s opera The Demon, the Duke in Alexander Dargomyzhsky’s opera The Mermaid, Jurodiv in Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov and many others. From 1948 Juozas Indra also worked in the opera class of the State Conservatory. A large number of famous Lithuanian singers attended the Opera Preparatory class headed by Juozas Indra. Among them were Marija Aleškevičiūtė, Vytautas Blažys, Irena Jasiūnaitė, Abdonas Lietuvninkas, Leonidas Muraška, Irena Žukaitė and others.
Juozas Indra’s diverse musical talent was revealrd in compositions too. Having started with songs Juozas Indra gradually moved to larger musical forms. And in 1956, he wrote his most famous work – the ballet Audronė, which earned him the National Prize. In 1954, Juozas Indra became a member of the Lithuanian Composers’ Union. The list of his works contains 12 original songs and romances, choir and solo songs, about 150 harmonised folk songs, about 20 chamber instrumental and 10 symphony musical works, the symphony The City of Ruins based on the poem by Salomėja Nėris, music for 8 dramas, films. 

Between 1954 and 1965, Juozas Indra was a senior conductor at the Kaunas musical theatre, and between 1965 and 1968 – the conductor. He conducted more than 30 operas and operettas, performed in many concerts. Though he did not have special training as a conductor, his profound understanding of the opera repertoire and inborn musical talent – perception of opera dramaturgy, of vocal, artistry – enabled him to perform the work of a conductor professionally. He staged Domenico Cimarosa’s opera The Secret Marriage, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera Jolanta, Georges Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers, Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Sorochintsy Fair, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra, several operettas, including Benjaminas Gorbulski’s operetta Frank Kruk and Love and Tin. According to the theatre critic Daina Klimauskaitė, after Juozas Indra hd come to the theatre, big, considerable changes began in it, the professional level of the theatre increased dramatically, lovers of opera saw many new performances. ‘Through his efforts the theatre’s chorus and orchestra grew in quantity and quality. Juozas Indra’s comments and advice given to the soloists on how to deal with one or another complicated musical phrase were really valuable and useful because he himself was an opera singer’ (…) and he willingly gave advice to the orchestra musicians too because he himself was a creator of music, played several instruments. (Skučaitė, 2018)
According to the theatre people of that time, Juozas Indra always came to the rehearsals very seriously prepared, usually knowing the score by heart.  As a conductor he was demanding and strict, disliked compromises, managed to inspire everyone to greater efforts and creative mood. In 1959, he was awarded the honorary title of Lithuanian SSR Meritorious Art Worker.

In 1968, when preparing for his fiftieth birth anniversary, Juozas Indra promised to sing German in Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades in Vilnius; however, on 14 March his life unexpectedly ended.
Juozas Indra is buried in Petrašiūnai Cemetery in Kaunas. The tombstone was built in 1978, architect M. Jakimavičienė.
Prepared by Aldona Juodelienė

1. Narbutienė Ona. Juozas Indra. Vilnius, 1975, 119 p.
2. Narbutienė Ona. Indra, Juozas. Muzikos enciklopedija, Vilnius,  T. II, 2003, p. 24
3. Būtasis laikas. Dirigentas Juozas Indra. Kompozitoriaus, dirigento ir dainininko Juozo Indros 80-osioms metinėms. Dalyvauja teatrologai ir teatro mėgėjai. Laida LRT, 1998 04 05. [interaktyvus] Prieiga per internetą: https://www.lrt.lt/mediateka/irasas/1818/butasis-laikas-dirigentas-juozas-indra
4. Gaudrimas Juozas. Tarybų Lietuvos kompozitoriai ir muzikologai. Vilnius, 1988, p. 73
5. Lelis Jonas. Beveik kaip Kipras! : operos solisto ir kompozitoriaus J. Indros 80 metų gimimo ir 30 metų mirties sukaktis minint.  Muzikos barai, 1998, Nr. 3/4, p. 26-28
6. Juozas Indra – gyvenimas skirtas muzikai. Virtuali paroda. Prieiga per internetą: https://www.kvb.lt/indra/
7.  Mikuličiūtė-Vaitkūnienė Kristina. Muziejaus trečiadienis. Talentingasis Juozas Indra. [interaktyvus] Prieiga per internetą: http://pilnas.kaunas.lt/2018/11/20/muziejaus-treciadienis-talentingasis-juozas-indra/
8. Skučaitė Virginija. Netausojusio savęs kūrėjo 100-metis. Kauno diena, 2018 kovo 25
Prieiga per intenetą:

Operas and Operettas

G. Bizet

Carmen – Don José (1946/1948)

A. Borodin

Prince Igor – Vladimir (1952)

Prince Igor – Ovlur (1953)

A. Dargomyzhsky

Rusalka – The Prince,1950

M. Glinka

„Ivan Susanin“ – Sobinin (1946/1948)

Ruslan and Ludmila – Bayan (1946/1948)

Ch. Gounod

 Romeo and Juliet – Tebaldo (1944)

 Romeo and Juliet –  Romeo (1948)

„Faust“ – Faust (1945)

J. Karnavičius

„Gražina“ – Liutauras (1944)

F. Lehár

The Merry Widow – Camille, Count de Rosillon (1946/1948)

P. Mascagni

Cavalleria rusticana – Turiddu (1945)

W. A. Mozart

 Don Giovanni – Don Ottavio (1946/1948)

S. Moniuszko

„Halka“– Jontek, 1951

M. Mussorgsky

„Boris Godunov“ – The Yurodivyj1 (950)

G. Puccini

Tosca – Cavaradossi (1945)

G. Rossini

The Barber of Seville –  Almaviva (1944)

A. Rubinstein

The Demon – Prince Sinodal  (1949)

P. Tchaikovsky

Eugene Onegin – Lensky (1945)

The Queen of Spades – Herman  (1948)

V. Valentinov

The custodian of fire – Lusyen (1946/1948)

G. Verdi

Rigoletto – The Duke (1943)

La traviata – Alfredo (1948/1952)

La traviata – Gaston (1954)

Simon Boccanegra – Gabriele Adorno (1961)

Conducted performances at Kaunas State Musical Theater

B. Asafyev

The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, 1961 .

G. Bizet

Carmen (1956)

The Pearl Fishers,1957

V. Baumilas

„Paskenduolė“, 1958

D. Cimarosa

The Secret Marriage, 1954

B. Gorbulskis

„Laikas pamilti“, 1965

„Frank Kruk“, 1959

„Meilė ir skarda“, 1960

Ch. Gounod

Faust, 1964

P. Hadzhiev

My neighbor Romeo, 1961

E. Kalman

Sylva / The Gipsy Princess, 1959

Maritza, 1964

F. Lehár

The Merry Widow ,1960

Der Graf von Luxemburg, 1963

K. Listov

Sevastopol Waltz, 1962

Y. Milyutin  

Chanita's kiss, 1961

M. Mussorgsky

The Fair at Sorochyntsi,1958

A. Novikov

Camila, 1965

J. Offenbach

The Beautiful Helen, 1963

Bluebeard, 1964

G. Puccini

Madama Butterfly, 1959

La bohème, 1962

G. Rossini

The Barber of Seville, 1953

A. Rubinstein

The Demon, 1961

J. Strauss

Die Fledermaus, 1962

V. Shcherbachov

 Tabachny Kapitan, 1963 m.

P. Tchaikovsky

Iolanta, 1955

G. Verdi

Simon Boccanegra, 1960

Rigoletto, 1963

Z. Zorina

The Adventures of Chippoline,1956