“Operomanija”: Experiences of 2022 and Plans for 2023

2022 12 30

As the year draws to an end it is high time to summarise all that has been done and to see what is in store for the creators and fans of contemporary music theatre.

“Operomanija” started the year 2022 with a tour in Hamburg, the Lessingtage Festival held at Thalia Theatre. The company presented two performances of opera “Have a Good Day!” or, rather, its extreme version, dubbed the omicron edition by creators, since five performers had to be replaced on the last minute. This way, the piece’s composer, director and producer had to perform the roles of singing cashiers.

For the first time “Operomanija” had a stand at the Music Hall of the Vilnius Book Fair, where the company displayed and sold a collection of contemporary opera LPs released by the company. We will participate in the Vilnius Book Fair 2023 as well – this year our stand at the Music Hall will be even larger and more conceptual.

A marathon of over 30 events representing the major part of “Operomanijas’s” repertoire was held during March and April, as part of the company’s initiative to collect funds to support Ukraine and the war refugees in Lithuania. All funds collected from these events – nearly thirteen thousand euros – were donated in equal parts to the “Blue-Yellow” and “Strong Together” organisations.

In 2022, two projects produced by “Operomanija” were featured in the Cultural Passport programme (listing of education services for schoolchildren), therefore, in 2023 we invite schoolchildren to register and take part in activities introducing contemporary musical theatre: mobile education programme for audiences in Vilnius and Lithuanian regions tells about the Baroque noise machines and how Baroque opera can be related to contemporary art; another programme for Vilniusites and visiting pupils presents “The Filler” – sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto, followed by meetings and discussions with its creators.

Summer was distinguished for intense creative processes associated with preparations for the NOA Festival that was held in autumn. The company also repaired and adapted for the rehearsals its first “headquarters”, situated at culture complex SODAS 2123. The premises in the old building are called Studio No. 22 – the guests are welcome!

“Operomanija” has entered into co-operation with Erdvių Festivalis held in Visaginas and in August has presented the opera “Have a Good Day!” here. This cooperation will continue in 2023. Other amazing meetings with regional audiences also happened last year – for example, spatial opera in the dark “Confessions” was presented in Priekulė for the first time.

September was a “communal month” – “Operomanija’s” concert programme “Late Junctions” visited people living in hospices, deprived of any exposure to art due to their limited mobility. The same concert programme was presented in Vilnius, where many people came to an evening of support to the Ukrainian war refugees.

October ended with the key event of 2022 – the 8th NOA (New Opera Action) festival, a result of several years of preparation. We have completed the festival marathon (featuring 5 world premieres, 2 earlier works from “Operomanija’s” repertoire highly favoured by audiences, along with the presentation of Ukrainian opera and a laboratory of young art researchers) – lots of action and we are already thinking about the 9th NOA festival! Most of the premieres of the 8th NOA festival (some having undergone spatial / form transformations) will soon be featured in the active repertoire of “Operomanija”. Hence, we invite everyone to visit the events that will take place in February – May 2023. Tickets will be available soon.

We are happy to announce that the musical performance “Sports Group” (created by Gabrielė Labanauskaitė, Gailė Griciūtė, Viktorija Damerell, Sholto Dobie and Greta Štiormer) premiered at the 8th NOA festival will go on its first tour in May: the piece will be presented at O. – Festival for Opera. Music. Theatre. – the largest European festival for contemporary musical theatre annually held in Rotterdam. Meanwhile, the corporate dystopia / probiotic ecotopia “Brave New Body” (created by Arturas Bumšteinas and Žygimantas Kudirka) will be presented at Cricoteca (the Centre for the Documentation of the Art of Tadeusz Kantor in Krakow), as well as the international theatre festival in Klaipėda.

We encourage you to listen to a BBC World Service programme presenting the artist Žygimantas Kudirka, one of the creators of the “Brave New Body”. The show presents a review of this premiere of the 8th NOA festival and the history of its creation.

Other performances produced by “Operomanija” will go on tour this year as well: in February, opera “Have a Good Day!” will visit Bologna, concert programme “Late Junctions” will be presented in Tel Aviv, while the comic strip opera “Alpha” will be shown in Latvia. Tours of other productions are also on their way.

In 2023, the company will focus more on the country’s regions, offering contemporary art exposure and experiences to the audiences of Vilkaviškis, Visaginas, Panevėžys, Kaunas, Klaipėda and other towns and cities. Stay tuned for more information!

In 2021, “Operomanija” and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre initiated a contemporary opera project “Opera Genome”, which continued in 2022; premieres related to this project are planned for 2023 as well.

Creative projects associated with new, upcoming operas and other large-scale contemporary musical theatre productions are on the way: “Operomanija” is presently initiating a new production, collaborating with composers Rūta Vitkauskaitė, Rita Mačiliūnaitė, Albertas Navickas and the entire creative team of “The Filler”, as well as other authors.

In 2023, together with our partners from Latvia and Estonia, we shall commence works related to establishment of a network of Baltic contemporary music theatre, creators and producers of new opera.

Year 2022 ended with another good news, this time coming from Vilnius city municipality: “Operomanija” was granted the status of Vilnius city culture organisation (along with annual financial support), therefore, from now on we shall be called Vilnius city contemporary musical theatre organisation “Operomanija” and we are looking forward to implementing even more creative ideas.

Thanks for being our friends in 2022! Let us meet in 2023 as well!