PHOTO: people come to the premiere of Jānis Kalniņš’s opera “Hamlets” at the Latvian National Opera

The new production consists of the musical director and conductor of the show Mārtiņš Ozoliņš, director Kristina Wuss, set designer Andris Eglītis, costume designer Kristīne Pasternaka, choreographer Agris Daņiļevičs and lighting artist Mārtiņš Feldmanis. The patron of the production is the Latvian National Opera Guild (USA).

The main roles are Raimonds Bramanis or Andris Ludvigs (Hamlet), Jānis Apeinis or Rihards Mačanovskis (Claudius), Evija Martinsone or Inga Šlubovska-Kanceviča (Ophelia), Ilona Bagele or Dana Bramane (Gertrude).

“To resort to Shakespeare’s famous tragedy – the Latvian composer was very daring. Jānis Kalniņš himself created the libretto of “Hamlet”, clearly seeing how the work will live on stage, vividly expanding the symphonic episodes into the big mass scenes and the opera finale. In the opera, we see the essence of Jānis Kalniņš’s handwriting – a world of deeply romantic and bright images, an intelligent and humorous illustrative language of music, and a spiritually filled and deeply philosophical perception of the world, ”describes the new musical director Mārtiņš Ozoliņš.

The premiere of Jānis Kalniņš’s opera “Hamlets” directed by Jānis Zariņš at the Latvian National Opera took place in 1936 with the composer at the conductor’s desk. Once again, in a musically modified version, the production was directed by Jānis Zariņš in 1943. In both performances, the title role was sung by the prominent Latvian tenor Mariss Vētra, and the role of Claudia was sung by the charismatic baritone Ādolfs Kaktins. The new production will be the third performance of this opera at the Latvian National Opera.

The opera “Hamlet” was completed in 1935, written in both Latvia and Austria. It was a time when the Latvian team won the 1st European Basketball Championship, the Freedom Monument was donated and the European Gallery of the Trocadero Museum in Paris was opened with folk art from the Baltic States. VEF soon began production of its VEF Super Lux MD / 37 radio with a European map scale. Time did not fall off the hinges on the scale that was said of the kingdom of Denmark. Suddenly a time tunnel connects the moments of different centuries: 16th century. (drama) – 1935 (opera) – 21st century (paintings). In 10 scenes with interludes of very different lengths, the focus is on the theme of conscience, which balances on the Great Stage. Shakespeare personifies this theme in at least 20 different characters, composer Kalnins lives with fewer characters. I want to tell it all in white, in a situation of thawing, ”says opera director Kristīna Vuss. Viewers of the Latvian National Opera have read her creative handwriting in productions of the operas Alchina (1998) and Don Juan (1999).

Set designer Andris Eglītis has created eight large-format paintings for the set design of the opera “Hamlets” – stage conquests. To do this, the artist used a variety of homemade tools, large-format brushes and technical constructions. “It was interesting for me to review the possibilities of stage painting. What is its place today when the possibilities for printing and projection are endless? The meaning of painting could be in its physicality. There is color, stroke, expressiveness of elements. It is emphasized, highlighted and displayed with transparency. It was important to me that these paintings are not just magnified reproductions of sketches, but are created during a process in which one layer or line of paint shows the way to the next. Surprisingly, everything I imagine before in this process – from lighting to instruments – works, ”says the scenographer.

The Latvian National Opera Guild welcomes the Latvian National Opera and Ballet with a significant and new contribution to Latvian culture – the production of Jānis Kalniņš’s opera Hamlet. It is a great honor for the Guild to be the Patron of this production and it is a great pleasure that after almost 80 years, the masterpiece of Jānis Kalniņš will be performed on the stage of our White House again. The return of the opera “Hamlet” to the Latvian National Opera in a new, dynamic form is a long-awaited event. May the sound and long life of J. Kalniņš’s opera “Hamlet” in our White House and outside! ” says Ivars Slokenbergs, President of the Latvian National Opera Guild. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet would like to express its gratitude to the Latvian National Opera Guild, whose support in the creation of the opera Hamlet is invaluable.

The next performances of the opera “Hamlet” will take place on January 16, 18 and 21.

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