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Vykintas Baltakas: Cantio

  • Musik theatre on a text by Sharon Joyce (2004) (2001-2004)
  • for narrator, soprano, tenor, bassbaritone, ensemble and electronics
  • 1 0 1 0 - 1 1 1 1 - perc(2), acc, pno, alto sax(Eb), vln, vla, vc, cb
  • Duration: 60’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    piccolo (+picc)
    clarinet in in Es (+bass cl)
    alto saxophone in Eb (+sop.sax(Bb))
    horn in F
    trumpet in C
    1st percussion
    2nd percussion
    double bass
  • Roles: narrator
  • Composer: Vykintas Baltakas
  • Librettist: Sharon Lynn Joyce
  • Original language: Ancient Greek
  • Translator: Erika Ria Otto
  • Commission: ein Auftragswerk der Landeshauptstadt München zur Münchener Biennale 2004

Work introduction

The idea of the work is that the linguistic rhetoric should determine all the piece’s expressive aspects – its dramaturgy, music and staging. Music arises from the language and the scenic sound while, for its part, the action onstage reacts to the music.

A certain form of Cantio was performed in Greece; the gods were to be convinced to remain in the city if they were thought to be ready to abandon it. It survives only in fragments.

But our perceptual options of reconstructing such a distant epoch, identifying with it, are also merely fragmentary at most.

The attempt is to complete those fragments and, using imagination – and without becoming historical – to revivify them, allow them to speak – to make them heard, perhaps, if only for a short moment.

Vykintas Baltakas


World première

Haus der Kunst, München (DE)
Münchener Kammerorchester
Christoph Poppen
Main soloists:
Rita Balta, S, Tilman Lichdi, T, Randal Turner, Bar

Press reviews

Baltakas is an enormous talent; he knows exactly what he wants and what he can justify musically - and he doesn't succumb to convention. Turbulent music theatre with congenial stage direction by Oskaras Korsunovas. (Reinhard Schulz, NMZ)

Cantio was one of the most appealing séances in the Biennale's history. (Hans Klaus Jungheinrich, Frankfurter Rundschau)

As a contribution to the discourse on opera's future, Cantio definitely has its qualities. (Gerhard Rohde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)


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