Nordplus Higher Education
We make an opera
Author: Indrė Baltraitytė
Nordplus programme truly offers a wide range of opportunities. For instance, Nordplusmusic network (www.nordplusmusic.net) unites all Nordplus networks in music and includes over 40 higher music education institutitons from all Baltic and Nordic countries. The network stimulates creativity, energy, shares best practices and brings many opportunities for internationalization and development. Nordplusmusic encompasses jazz network Nordpuls, classical music network Sibelius, opera education network Nordopera, and folk music Nordtrad.
From 2014, the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy (LMTA) was responsible for coordination of Nordopera network for the two years period, and organization of intensive course, which was the central event for all opera schools. Thus the project ran under title of We Make an Opera, a week-long intensive course for students following master studies was organised in Vilnius. 60 students had a chance to present and master their musical, artistic and scenic skills. The intensive course included both individual classes for students, given by vocal teachers and pianists, and ensemble classes by international team of teachers-opera production crew: conductor, director or interpreter, movement specialist and pianist. Body expression deserved special attention, and morning time of every day was used for perfection, in a very creative way, students' scenic language, movement, and dance. Suzuki training for actors was also presented as one of the methods for physical and emotional training. Networking, and artistic collaboration was not least important, as the students had an opportunity to make professional contacts with singers coming from the other opera schools.
At the end of the intensive courses, a Gala Concert was held in the Russian Drama Theatre in Vilnius. Young artists performed fragments from world-famous operas, including those by Händel (Serse), Mozart (Le nozze di Figaro), Verdi (Falstaff), Bizet (Carmen), Puccini (la Bohème), and Stravinsky (The Rake’s Progress).
Naturally, the project focused on improvement of the students' skills, international experience, yet it also made the opera genre more popular. Efforts of the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy to attract an audience was successful, and the hall of the Russian Drama Theatre in Vilnius (former Opera House) on 6th of June, 2015 was full. The project was also promoted by the Swedish Embassy in Lithuania, and also enjoyed media coverage. ”We joined forces together with the Swedish Embassy in Lithuania, and the Gala Concert of „We Make an Opera“ was presented not only as the final event of the intensive opera course for Nordic and Baltic opera schools, but also dedicated to the Swedish National Day. The Embassy invited the honourable guests to the final Concert,. Following a successful performance on the stage of the former opera house, i.e. production of opera fragments ranging from Puccini to Stravinsky, the Embassy held a reception for intensive course participants and guests. Thus the event was attended by honourable guests representing not only culture, but also business, and politics. One of the memorable moments revealing our togetherness was after the concert. . The Swedish Ambassador Ms Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin, sang Swedish songs together with the students in the hall. Such beautiful moments brings an extra power and are a project’s added values, which helps us to feel closer to Nordic countries. In its official discourses on the cultural cooperation of Lithuania, the Swedish Embassy mentions our strong and close relationship with the Nordic countries. ” – says project manager Rima Rimšaitė.
The project coordinator is Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, project partners are from Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. From 2016, Nordopera network will be coordinated by the Norwegian institution, Opera School at the Norwegian Academy of Arts. Intensive opera course for Nordopera schools will be organised in Oslo in 2017.