The Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, together in partnership with its social partner, Lithuanian company Girteka Logistics, has implemented the project Opera on Wheels for the second year running. From June to September, the Italian opera The Maid Lady travelled to 14 performances across Lithuania. According to the project organisers, the untraditionally presented genre of the opera has received even greater interest than last year – more than 10 thousand spectators went to watch and listen to the opera The Maid Lady on the stage installed in the trailer of the truck.
According to Simonas Bartkus, Head of Marketing and Communications at Girteka Logistics, it was a great honour and pleasure for the company to contribute to the development of Opera on the Wheels. In his opinion, despite the fact that this project took place for the second year in a row, the interest in free performances of The Maid Lady has only emphasized that this initiative has been even more meaningful and necessary this year.
“Introducing the subtle genre of opera, which can usually be seen and heard only in specially adapted theatre halls, we have provided an opportunity to attend the opera to very wide audiences both in the country’s major cities and in small, remote towns. Undoubtedly, opera performances have also served as safe outdoor entertainment since we are still living in the grip of the global pandemic, and as a result the calendar of events or entertainment is now much emptier. At the same time, the stage installed in the trailer of our truck gave world-class artists the opportunity to be heard – after all, during the quarantine that lasted for almost a year, silence entered the theatre halls,” said S. Bartkus.
This year, 14 performances have rolled by Opera on the Wheels across the country. On June 4, the performance of this opera in the park of Verkiai Palace delighted Vilnius residents and guests and became one of the first events to commemorate the upcoming 700th birthday of the capital. On June 8, the opera sounded in Šalčininkai city park. On June 19 – in the yard of Antazavė manor. On June 26 – in Leliūnai. On August 1 – in Vilkaviškis. On August 6 – in Visaginas. On August 15 – in Šilutė. On August 22 – at Utena Square in Utena. On September 7 – in the courtyard of the Palace of the Rulers in Vilnius. On September 10 and 11 – at Šiauliai Resurrection Square. On September 12 – at Independence Square in Biržai. On September 17 – in the capital, in the yard of Liepkalnis school. On September 25 – in the yard of Pilaitė eldership also in Vilnius.
According to Jonas Sakalauskas, the General Director of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (LNOBT), the main organizer of this project, the desire to popularize the opera genre and bring it closer to all people who might be interested in opera has been a great motivation to create and continue Opera on the Wheels project.
“Opera on the Wheels project was born out of a desire to implement the idea of a traveling opera. Probably not everybody has an opportunity to come to Vilnius and see a large-scale opera performance in our theatre, so the colourful performances of The Maid Lady, arriving in the semi-trailer to Lithuanian towns, has become the only opportunity for many spectators to see the opera live. We believe that this project has significantly contributed to the reduction of social exclusion and we are glad that the unique transformation of the opera has also attracted the interest of international audiences,” says J. Sakalauskas.
The plot of the one-act comic opera The Maid Lady tells a story of a maid who aspires to become a housewife, creatively trying to establish herself for her landlord. Eventually, love triumphs, and spectators gathered around the semi-trailer, turned into an original scene of the event, become guests of an unexpected wedding.
The director of The Maid Lady – Gediminas Šeduikis, the scene-designer – Sigita Šimkūnaitė, the costume designer – Ugnė Tamuliūnaitė. The roles in this play were performed by Monika Pleškytė (Serpina), Liudas Mikalauskas (Ubertas), Lukas Ignatavičius (Vesponė), and other actors. The LNOBT Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, conducted by the concertmaster Carmelo Giuseppe Longo, played.
Last year, the charm of the opera, fit into the trailer of a truck, was nominated in a prestigious theatre awards Golden Crosses of the Stage, in the category of Pandemic Resistant Theatre.
The author of the project Opera on the Wheels is the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre. The social partner is the company Girteka Logistics, the largest asset-based transportation company in Europe.