Baritone Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of Opera and Ballet Theater emeritus

On September 21st, in front of the audience gathered for the “Rigolet” performance, the famous Lithuanian opera baritone Eduard Kaniavas, who celebrated his 85th anniversary this summer, was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus. The soloist, who spent six decades on stage, claims that he still dreams of her every night.

On the stage of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater, presenting a bas-relief to E. Kaniava bearing the title of LNOBT emeritus, decorated with the LNOBT symbol – a branch of rue, the general director of the theater Jonas Sakalauskas said that the famous opera baritone deserved such an honor for his many years of stage activity, impeccable singing and contribution to Lithuanian opera. culture.

“I’ll admit that I don’t miss singing, although I used to call myself a stage fanatic and nothing was more dear to me than her.” I already forgot that I was singing. But I am reminded of it every night by dreams connected with the stage, with roles, with partners. I emphasize – every night, it doesn’t happen that I don’t dream of myself singing”, admitted E. Kaniava.

Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus / photo by Martyn Aleksas.

Congratulating the new honorary emeritus, his former stage colleague and now the chairman of the LNOBT Art Council, Vladimir Prudnikova, emphasized that during the 60 years spent on the stage, E. Kaniava created approximately 70 main roles in the LNOBT.

“All his stage partners could learn from singers like Eduard. They say that bosses should listen to bosses, no, you should learn from everyone who knows how to convey their emotions on stage. I had to go on theater tours with E.Kaniava several times, we also sang together in the popular trio of opera soloists “Three Tigers”. We communicate as families, so I am very happy that my friend has been awarded the honorary title of LNOBT Emeritus. His contribution to the art of Lithuanian opera is really worth it,” V. Prudnikova has no doubts.

Favorite role – Rigoletto

The wife of the new LNOBT emeritus, Barbora Kaniavienė, says that the new badge of honor at home will add to the rich collection of awards earned by her husband. in 1997 E.Kaniava was awarded the Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania, 3rd degree, and in the same year, the Society of Friends of the Lithuanian Opera presented him with the “Cyprus” statuette. in 1998 In Germany, the soloist was awarded the Gottlob Frick Medal. in 2006 he won the culture and art prize of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of Opera and Ballet Theater emeritus (21 photo)

Was E. Kaniava nervous about going to collect another award? “You know, it’s hard to say: after all, he’s an old artist, and he’s still quite reserved. You wouldn’t know it from his demeanor, but I think he was nervous. It has been a long time since he was in this theater, where he walked so many years before, sacrificed his nerves, and received moments of joy after performances. And Rigoletto was his most beloved role, because the dramaturgical material of the opera is very rich. He prepared all day for each performance of Rigoletto. Eduards played this role in many places in the world”, says B. Kaniavienė.

Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus / photo by Martyn Aleksas.

E. Kaniava himself emphasized that he had to sing Rigoletto on stage in three languages: Italian, Lithuanian and Russian. “I remember singing ten performances of Rigoletto in Havana alone. During my stage career, a soloist invited to a foreign theater would also take the character’s costume with him, so my wife has had to pack stage clothes into a suitcase many times. And even in those days, for some reason, wigs were very popular in theaters. Of course, we also took them with us,” says the emeritus.

There is nothing to fear

in 1979 E.Kaniava started teaching at the Lithuanian Conservatory (now the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). in 1988 became its professor, 1989-1992. worked as the head of the Department of Singing.

“Being a teacher is difficult, because while working you meet other worlds, other ways of thinking. Not only do you value your students, but they value you. Finding human commonality between student and teacher is very, very important, but it doesn’t always succeed,” states Professor E. Kaniava, who has accumulated many years of experience as a teacher.


Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus / photo by Martyn Aleksas.

1993-1994 he also taught at the Caracas Singing Academy in Venezuela. The singer Aušra Stasiūnaitė-Čepulkauskienė, who worked with him for a year and a half in a distant country, remembers how one evening she had to go to the Caracas Opera Theater to rehearse a concert, and a terrible wind rose outside because a hurricane was approaching the shores of Venezuela.

“I was scared because I saw things flying outside, splinters of buildings, tree branches. And Eduard remained completely calm. They say: as it is destined, it will be so, there is no need to fear anything. That saying stuck with me… From working together on the LNOBT stage for years, I remember E. Kaniava first of all as the wonderful Figaro in the opera “The Barber of Seville”, as Iago in “Othello” and, of course, as Rigoletto”, says A. Stasiūnaitė-Čepulkauskienė.

The life of the opera soloist also included a phase of active political activity: 2000-2004. he was a member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, after which he advised the country’s Prime Minister on cultural issues for another two years.

“All I can say about that time is that after coming to the Seimas, I only understood who and where after the first half of the year. Until that time, it seemed that we all evaluate and decide a lot, and a lot depends on our decisions, as it were”, observed E.Kaniava succinctly.


Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus / photo by Martyn Aleksas.

In Palanga – 17 years already

in 2005 after moving from the capital to his childhood home in Palanga, E. Kaniava taught at the Faculty of Arts of Klaipėda University and worked as a singing teacher at the Klaipėda State Musical Theater, helping opera soloists to prepare new roles. His students Mindaugas Rojus and Steponas Zonys, whom he trained in the port city, became well-known opera soloists.

“Six years of my studies with E. Kaniavas were the best. More than once, we, the students, drank coffee and tea in Palanga, in his parents’ old house. Sometimes we argued, when he suggested not to start one or another party yet, and I was stubborn and prepared it. But we always found a compromise, because it took into account the wishes of the students and the reality of fulfilling those wishes. I have always been fascinated by the mastery of E.Kaniava’s interpretations, his charisma, his ability to communicate with his stage partners and the audience. I hope I managed to take over at least a little bit of that,” says baritone S. Zonys, who was recognized as the soloist of the LNOBT Opera of the Year this year.


Eduard Kaniavas was awarded the honorary title of LNOBT emeritus / photo by Martyn Aleksas.

E. Kaniava is currently the only LNOBT emeritus. in 2013 this honorary title was given to Virgilij Noreika (1935-2018), in 2018. – to Vaclav Daunor (1937-2020), 2020 – To Irena Jasiūnaitei (1925–2021).

Receiving the bas-relief of LNOBT honorary emeritus, E.Kaniava greeted the audience on the stage of the theater by singing the phrase “Povero Rigoletto!” (Poor Rigoletto!) from the much-awaited performance. And he promised that in five years, celebrating his 90th birthday, he would come back to sing again.

Guests of the premiere of the opera “Rigolet”. (46 photo)

The article is in Lithuanian

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