Liudas Mikalauskas: Music in the thatched hall. Why not? –

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Liudas Mikalauskas. Photo of Elta.

– August 13 is the day of left-handed women, to which group you belong. Are Lithuanian left-handers getting together somehow?

– That left-handedness of mine is atypical, so re-educated. I was left-handed as a child, but gradually learned to do many things with my right hand. After all, during the Soviet era, teachers strictly insisted on writing only with the right hand, so I learned to write with my right hand. Now I do some work both left and right.

– It is said that left-handed people are more creative. Do you think this is a myth or true?

– Actually, there are quite a few left-handed artists. I notice that not a single colleague in my theater is left-handed, my wife Sigita, who also works in the cultural sector as an organizer of various artistic projects, is a real left-hander. There are many left-handers around, but it would be difficult to judge whether they are really more creative or not.

– Well, at least your creativity just flows. For the concert cycle, you proposed to build a hall made of straw rents, which you called “Kazlų Rūdos Slow arena”. Where will such a hall with straw walls be located?

– I wanted an exclusive place, and in the summer you can improvise more. For several years now, my wife Sigita and I have been watching a photo of an outdoor theater made of straw bales floating around the Internet. Many people would probably have implemented that idea, but the problem is that big farmers who can build a hall out of straw bales and creative artists have to come and sit at the same table, because if there is no dialogue and the desire to do something together, it would be impossible.

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My wife and I live in a village, I am glad that we have extremely dear friends, big farmers of Sūduva – Dalia and Aida Kairaičius and Ieva and Mariė Skučus, who supported the idea from the beginning. He was just asking how many straw rolls would be needed. I say, like 300. And they: what’s 300 – let’s build 2000 straw rentini.

The walls of the thatched arena will be 4 meters high, and it will accommodate about 400 spectators. “Kazlų Rūdos Slow arena” is located in a convenient geographical location, near the “Via Baltica” highway, between Kaunas and Marijampole, in the village of Pinciškii, and is easily accessible by driving along the old Marijampole road, turning towards the village of Gudelii.

– This year has been declared the year of Sūduva, and you invited us to “experience Sūduva” and remember this emotion for a long time with these concerts in the straw hall: the village, the smell of hay and wonderful music on a beautiful summer evening. What will be played at the concerts?

– We invited such artists to perform concerts, who organize performances all over the world, and very rarely “set down” in Lithuania. When I called, I thought: well, what am I going to offer them now – to perform a concert among straw bales, maybe they will agree. For example, the innovative chamber orchestra NIKO, led by conductor Gediminas Gelgot, held a concert for the Queen of Norway a few weeks ago, and now I thought of inviting them to perform among the straw. But as soon as I told them what kind of arena we are building and who can be here, they immediately answered: “We will be there.” Therefore, the unique collective NIKO in Lithuania will perform here on August 19.

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And on August 13th, one of the best accordionists in Lithuania, winner of international competitions, Tadas Motiečius, will try our straw “Slow Arena” for the first time with the orchestra “Kremerata Lituanica”. Their concert will feature zarzuelas and tango pieces.

On August 26, we will present a chamber production of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” in Lithuanian. The main roles will be played by a tandem from Sūduva: Egidijus Bavikinas (Alfred), Liudas Mikalauskas (Germain), and the main role of Violeta Valeri will be played by Ona Kolobovaitė, owner of a velvety voice.

Concert tickets are swept, people share the news about an exclusive place, it’s intrigue, they’re interested. Traditional concert venues are getting bored, so everyone is looking for something interesting, something intriguing. And I want to offer it.

– And the prices for your concerts are affordable for everyone.

– Ticket price – 10 euros, children under 7 are free. Of course, you have to pay something for culture, but I am an opponent of that culture, which costs 40-50 euros per person in Lithuania. Imagine how much it costs the family to discover themselves a little in the culture. This is simply an insurmountable barrier.

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