Lithuania brought a touch of world-class opera to London with a free lunchtime concert held to mark the 98th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian independence.
The short event, staged at the opulent-yet-intimate St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, saw around 200 music lovers treated to stellar performances by Romanas Kudriasovas and Laura Zigmantaite, who sang arias by Rossini, Mozart, Bizet, and Saint-Saens, accompanied by Gabija Butkute on piano.
A highlight for many was the poignant and stirring “I have forgotten everything” (Kairiukstis).
56-year-old pharmacist Lynn Davies from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, was visibly touched by the performance. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she said: “Their voices filled the hall. It was just so beautiful on every level.”
Business students Rokas Gilys, 22, and Karolis Zubrus, 20, both from Vilnius, said: “The greatest thing about Lithuania is that we do music really well –— all types of music. We are not Eastern European trash with just electronic music and rock music.”
The Act of Independence of Lithuania, signed by the Council of Lithuania on Jan. 16, 1918, is viewed as a highly significant turning point in Lithuanian history, providing the DNA for Lithuania’s re-establishment of independence in 1990. Lithuania considered the Act to have never lost its legal power and reportedly stressed this as it broke away from the Soviet Union. Only a facsimile copy of the Act survives today.
In keeping with the Lithuanian tradition of marking significant historic events by staging classical music concerts, further events are planned for 2016. On Sept. 22 there will be a concert featuring Yiddish songs performed by soloist Judita Leitaite to commemorate the Holocaust in Lithuania.
More information can be obtained from the Lithuanian Embassy, London.