Lithuanian musicians at the Vilnius Festival 2013


Violeta Urmana to perform at the opening concert

One of the most important music events in Lithuania – The Vilnius Festival – is being held for the seventeenth time this year and denotes the Presidency of Lithuania of the EU Council. Organized by the Lithuanian National Philharmonic and the public institution Vilnius Festivals and patronized by the General sponsor ORLEN Lithuania the festival will be held from the 3rd to the 20th of June. The program of the festival consists of eight concerts, or to be precise - seven plus one, since the program includes a concert by Bobby McFerrin and his band, arranged by Vilnius Festivals to commemorate its 10th anniversary.

The concerts this year, as before, will include a great number of Lithuanian artists. The festival will open on the 3rd of June at the National Opera and Ballet Theatre with the darling of world opera Violeta Urmana together with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra led by Modestas Pitrėnas. The listeners will hear an interpretation of music by Richard Wagner, whose anniversary is being celebrated throughout the world this year. The first part of the concert features the song cycle Die Wesendonck Lieder which was composed at the same time as his opera Tristan and Isolde. This piece is set to the wistful, tragic and pathos-laden poems by Mathilde Wesendonck, whom the composer was infatuated with. The second part of the concert includes the finale of this musical drama – Isolde’s death scene that is perceived as an ecstatic hymn of love, as well as a startling farewell to life.

The concert programme also includes two symphonic poems: the serene and lyrical Miške (In the Forest) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, and Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) by the 19th century German composer Richard Strauss, which talks about the death and transfiguration of an unnamed artist. In autumn, this programme will be performed at a concert in Brussels, thus marking Lithuania’s presidency of the EU Council.

The festival will provide a rare opportunity to hear Lithuanian pianist, improviser, and composer Andrius Žlabys. This time he returns as a thoughtful interpreter of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. At the Grand Hall of the Lithuanian National Philharmonic on June 7 Andrius Žlabys and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of violinist Sergei Krylov will immerse the audience in the musical world of Johann Sebastian Bach. The concert titled “The Beauty and Depth of Music by Johann Sebastian Bach” will feature keyboard and violin concerts of this ingenious composer.

One of the festival's traditional rubrics is the recital. This year it is being entrusted to the world famous violinist, winner of international competitions Dalia Kuznecovaitė. She will perform with pianist Petras Geniušas on June 10 at the National Philharmonic and we may become witnesses of the beginning of the creative path of this new duo.

The festival from the very beginning of its existence has had the tradition to celebrate a very significant day for Lithuania - the Day of Mourning and Hope on June 14. For this occasion the "Polish Requiem” by the most prominent contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki will be presented at the National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The performance will feature an international team of soloists and ensembles: soprano Nomeda Kazlaus, mezzo-soprano Agnieszka Rehlis, tenor Edas Lyonas, bass Liudas Mikalauskas, Kaunas’ State Choir and Wrocław Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Jacek Kaspszyk.

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