8th New Opera Action: World Premieres, Guests from Abroad and Laboratory for Young Researchers

2022 08 29

From 14th to 22nd of October, production company Operomanija invites the audiences to the 8th NOA (New Opera Action) festival. Returning to diverse venues in Vilnius after four years, the event offers continued or first-time discovery of the diverse genres of contemporary musical theatre and new opera.

The 8th New Opera Action will present 8 performances of contemporary musical theatre, featuring most recent works produced by Operomanija and Ukrainian guest performance. Festival programme includes world premieres of 5 new productions; works presented by NOA traditionally offer original genre panorama and unexpected tandems of creators. The following premieres will be shown at this year’s festival: musical performance Sports Group, TikTok opera Planet Deluxe (the first premiere from the Opera Genome project, a collaboration between Operomanija and Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre), corporate dystopia for voices Brave New Body, a concert with choreographic tail The Urban Tale of a Hippo and opera Traviatas.

Festival programme also includes two other works produced by Operomanija that have been presented to lovers of contemporary art earlier: The Filler – critically acclaimed sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto, and Radvila Darius, Son of Vytautas, musical pictures from the archives of Lithuanian Television reminding of the period when Lithuania restored its independence. All NOA festival performances will be shown with English surtitles.

From the very beginning, the NOA Festival sought to present innovative productions. Perhaps it is the only performing arts’ festival in Lithuania with a programme that is mostly comprised of premiere works. There will be new productions, along with previously untouched topics, as well as debuting authors and new partnerships. Productions for this year’s festival are presented by varied community of creators, they will showcase new independent artists and such established collectives as Synaesthesis, Cello Club and the choir of state ensemble Lietuva. We remain faithful to the sole and most important tradition of NOA – the quest for creative discoveries and innovations,

– says Ana Ablamonova, producer of the NOA Festival.

This year’s festival presents guests from Ukraine and their archaeological opera Chornobyldorf (authors Roman Grygoriev, Illia Razumeiko), which garnered critical and audience acclaim and received a number of national and international awards. A story of humanity in post-apocalyptic world is conveyed through mixture of modern and archaic authentic instruments of different nations, singing, physical theatre, dance and cinematographic narratives. Today, in the context of an ongoing war in Ukraine this piece is relevant as never before.

I saw a video recording of Chornobyldorf back in 2021 – although brilliantly filmed, the footage was overly edited, which was deceptive, leaving me mostly unimpressed by the production. The Chernobyl topic chosen by creators seemed somewhat speculative at the time too. When I saw the opera live at a festival in Rotterdam this spring, the context of war expanded the borders of the piece’s perception. Moreover, while working on the festival’s programme it turned out that Chornobyldorf greatly resonates with other works to be presented at the 8th NOA Festival. Even though it is a fairly large production – a creative team of 20 people will come to Lithuania from Ukraine and other countries – with a help of supporters we will be able to present it to our audiences,

– says A. Ablamonova.

Sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto The Filler will invite the audiences for eight consecutive days. A performance-journey offering extraordinary experiences will lead the participants through stories ant territories of former Vilna ghetto. Another important event associated with this year’s presentations of this piece is a meeting with Professor Joshua Zak (b. 1929) from Israel, an actual witness of life at the Vilna ghetto, whose voice had been recorded and can be heard during the performance. During the Holocaust, Joshua Zak was an avid supporter of activities of the ghetto theatre, seeing it as an important resource to maintain the vitality of the ghetto’s community.

Those who have seen The Filler already might recall a scene at the Vilna ghetto theatre and a dialogue between two residents of the ghetto – Joshua Zak and Baruch Shub, sharply disputing about the meaning of the activities of the ghetto theatre, expressing arguments for and against it. It was Joshua, who saw the ghetto theatre as a factor of spiritual strength. Nearly 8 decades later he is going to visit the location of the former ghetto theatre,

– tells A. Ablamonova.

Professor Joshua Zak will come to Vilnius accompanied by his niece, architect Tsila Zak, who was of great help to the creative team of The Filler during their visit to Israel in 2019, where they went to collect materials and resources for the production.

In order to encourage interest of the young critics in contemporary musical theatre and new opera, NOA festival performances will be followed by creative laboratory for young generation art researchers (musicologists, theatre, film and art researchers, culture and art critics and litterateurs). This laboratory is a continuation of competitions of reviews by young critics held during NOA festivals in 2011 and 2018; this year, together with LRT KLASIKA radio programme, the festival also presents an opportunity to try one’s hand at creating radio broadcasts. Official announcement and registration to participate at the laboratory for young art researchers will be announced at the beginning of September.

We have spent four years preparing for the 8th NOA Festival, a time spent developing and nurturing performance ideas, as well as contemplating the mosaic of the festival’s programme. Even though the latter was affected by diverse technical and logistic factors, I believe that for the first time in 14 years of the festival we have managed to construe a programme thinking not only about the individual productions, but also focusing on the dramaturgy of their entirety, imagining the possibly sole viewer who might come to see all events of the NOA Festival: from the opening musical performance Sports Group on the 14th of October to the festival’s closing performance Traviatas on the 22nd of October,

– shares her thoughts A. Ablamonova, the producer of the NOA Festival.

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Programme of the 8th contemporary opera festival New Opera Action:

14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of October, 2022 | Start at Jewish Cultural and Information Centre
Sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto The Filler
(Authors Rimantas Ribačiauskas, Mantas Jančiauskas, Jūra Elena Šedytė, Andrius Šiurys)

14th of October, 2022 | Arts Printing House (Black Hall)
Musical performance Sports Group
(Authors Gailė Griciūtė, Gabrielė Labanauskaitė, Viktorija Damerell, Sholto Dobie, Greta Štiormer)

15th and 16th of October, 2022 | Culture complex Sodas 2123
Musical pictures from the archives of the Lithuanian Television Radvila Darius, Son of Vytautas
(Authors Karolis Kaupinis, Birutė Kapustinskaitė, Arnas Mikalkėnas, Goda Palekaitė)

16th of October, 2022 | Kablys
Archaeological opera Chornobyldorf (Ukraine)
(Authors Roman Grygoriv, Illia Razumeiko)

17th of October, 2022 | Vilnius theatre Lėlė
Meeting with Joshua Zak (Israel), one of the Holocaust survivors interviewed for the sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto The Filler
(Participants: Joshua Zak, Tsila Zak, Rimantas Ribačiauskas, Mantas Jančiauskas)

18th of October, 2022 | Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre
TikTok opera Planet Deluxe
(Authors Greta Štiormer, Jūra Elena Šedytė, Rūta MUR, Simas Okas, “Liudmila“, Ambulance on Fire, Andrius Šiurys, Tomas Narkevičius (Free Finga), Vitalij Puzyriov, Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė, Denisas Kolomyckis, Norbert Hinc, Valdas Latonas)

19th of October, 2022 | Arts Printing House (Black Hall)
Corporate dystopia for voices Brave New Body
(Authors Arturas Bumšteinas, Žygimantas Kudirka)

20th and 21st of October, 2022 | Smoke Factory
Concert with choreographic tail The Urban Tale of a Hippo
(Authors Panayiotis Kokoras, Andrius Katinas, Nanni Vapaavuori, Morta Nakaitė, Synaesthesis ensemble)

22nd of October, 2022 | Arts Printing House (Black Hall)
Opera Traviatas
(Authors Artūras Areima, Maximilian Oprishka)

For more information about the festival please visit www.noa.lt

8th contemporary opera festival NOA (New Opera Action) is part of the 700th Anniversary of Vilnius Programme. For more information visit www.700vilnius.lt. Festival is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius City Municipality, Go Vilnius.

Tickets to festival events are sold by Bilietai.lt, tickets to the TikTok opera Planet Deluxe are sold by the Lithuanian Opera and Ballet Theatre.