VILNIUS - He robs the rich and gives to the poor. He spends years leading a band of outlaws in the woods. And he's tragically defeated by his bitter enemy's mortal blow. You have surely heard this legendary tale of Robin Hood, but most likely his Lithuanian counterpart, Tadas Blinda, will come to you as a surprise.
Lithuania's Tadas Blinda is another tragic hero right up there with world famous egalitarian heroes such as Zorro, Robin Hood or Wilhelm Tell. The legend of Tadas Blinda recounts bold robberies in the Lithuanian woods and his endless generosity to the poor.
On Sep 1, Tadas Blinda's story will be revived in a new and unscreened setting. The premier of the spectacular musical "Tadas Blinda" will overwhelm Vingio Park in Vilnius.
The novel performance of Tadas Blinda, however, is not meant to revive the legendary robber. Rather, the outlaw is reborn in a modern epoch. Depicted as a contemporary man, Tadas Blinda attends casinos and rides around on a fashionable scooter. Yet the modern hero retains those characteristics that inspire the rebellious fight for equality.
Renowned musician Andrius Mamontovas has spent the past year composing the rock opera's main arias. Widely admired by several generations in Lithuania, Mamontovas is one of the most popular Lithuanian musicians of all time. After 20 years of successful performing, he has received almost every national music award - and even a double set.
While listening to a draft copy of the "Tadas Blinda" soundtrack, I could easily trace the laces of Andrius Mamontovas' stylistics. For those unfamiliar with his work, the show should provide a good introduction to the national idol's music.
In fact, Mamontovas himself plays the main role of Tadas Blinda in the rock opera. Acting for the musician is no novelty, as he has successfully lead the stage once before in "Hamlet," directed by Eimutas Nekrosius. Mamontovas toured the most prestigious festivals in Europe with this play and was awarded several prizes.
The director of "Tadas Blinda," Ramunas Rudokas, will be playing the antihero - the rich and wicked Mr. Tijunas. Over the years, Rudokas has gained wide popularity both on stage and as a comedian in various TV humor shows.
Despite the story's tragic plot, the director promises the show to be as bright and jolly as Friar Tuck's beer-glowing face.
Boasting over 150 performers on stage, the producers guarantee a powerful show. In addition to the show's singing and acting, "Tadas Blinda" will overwhelm the audience with its special effects, backdrop screen documentary, horse riding, daring stuntmen and dozens of dancers, including breakdown performers.
During preparation for the musical, some of the dancers were even rushed to the hospital's trauma unit after strenuous rehearsal mishaps.
Having said that, the director warns viewers not to be afraid if the stage bursts into flame. This is no accident; it's meant to be that way. Or so they say.
Rock opera "Tadas Blinda"
Park Vingis, Vilnius
Sep 1, 8 p.m.
Tickets: 20 - 100 litas
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