Operomanija started organising creative residencies since 2008, most often situated at the seaside of Lithuania. The camps were held to provide an opportunity for the likeminded people to meet; creative teams behind diverse operas were formed and long-term partnerships were established. Bringing together creators from Lithuania and abroad, the summer residencies also invited new members to attend and to try their hand at contemporary opera genre and interdisciplinary art. The camp also stimulated the return of Lithuanian artists residing abroad.
Gathered under the same roof, artists coming from diverse spheres (composers, writers, theatre and film directors, singers, set designers, architects, actors, instrumentalists, sound designers, photographers, videographers and musicologists) would spend a week actively working, presenting ideas and sharing their experiences. The Operomanija summer residence nourished tradition to bring together artists from diverse backgrounds in an open space, where the “law” of ultimate creative freedom prevailed, seeking to provoke the most unexpected ideas and undertakings. Education also played an important role in the programme of creative residencies: at first, various professionals were invited to share their experience (for example, composers Mindaugas Urbaitis, Šarūnas Nakas and others), later on, camp residents shared their experiences between themselves, learning from each other – thus ensuring the internal circulation of competences and acquired knowledge, encompassing different fields and genres of art.
Creative workshops organised over the course of the camps were distinguished as the period of high intensity, devoted to advanced training and generation of ideas. However, creative processes went along the camp’s residents’ daily communal life, intellectual discussions and intense programmes of public events for the residents and guests of the locations. Series of public events (so-called “concerts”) consisted of a variety of acts, not necessarily directly related to the theme of the residence: there were concerts, performances, happenings, installations, presentations of performance sketches, etc.
Having encouraged the community creation model for over a decade, Operomanija started focusing on the implementation of individual creative projects in recent years. The creative camps continue, gathering more chamber-like, but also highly diverse teams of creators, who develop their ideas from researching the themes and means of expression to eventual implementation of creative pieces. For instance, in spring 2019, a team of creators working on a documentary project about the Holocaust (sonic experience at the Vilna ghetto The Filler) went on a week-long creative-exploratory trip to Israel, where the team gathered the materials from original sources, along with in-depth investigation of the project topic.
Developing successful build-up and cooperation of creative teams, Operomanija does not intend to renounce the open creative residence format it had nourished for over a decade, hence, in the future the camp model might be revived as an incentive to young creators and new initiatives.