Klaipėda State Musical Theatre is the largest professional performing arts institution not only in Klaipėda but also in the entire western region of Lithuania. It was established in 1987, with an aim to present productions of musical theatre and concert programmes to the audiences in Klaipėda and western Lithuania to the highest professional standard.
The theatre now has a team of 240 staff members, including 20 opera soloists, 37 choir singers, 19 ballet dancers, 63 orchestra musicians, administration, front of house staff and production services.
In 2018, Laima Vilimienė was appointed General Manager of the Klaipėda State Musical Theatre. Tomas Ambrozaitis currently serves as Chief Conductor of the Klaipėda State Musical Theatre Symphony Orchestra.
Klaipėda State Musical Theatre was officially opened on January 1, 1987, in place of the reorganized Klaipėda People’s Opera Theatre. Over more than three decades of its activity the theatre has produced well over a hundred stage works in various genres, including operas, music dramas, operettas, musicals, ballets, contemporary dance performances, and musical performances for kids.
Klaipėda State Musical Theatre often engages renowned Lithuanian theatre directors, conductors, designers and choreographers for its productions. Some of the most accomplished ballet dancers from Lithuania and abroad appear as guest artists in its ballet productions and dance performances. Each season the theatre offers the calendar packed with performances, a few new productions, and tours in towns of the coastal region and the largest venues around Lithuania.
In addition, the theatre company presents concert programmes, takes part in various festivals and cultural projects.
Among new productions of the past few seasons, the following have drawn accolades from the public and critics alike:
- dance performance The Nutcracker, staged by internationally acclaimed Russian choreographer Kirill Simonov, set designer Ekaterina Zlaya, costume designer Alexander Barmenkov, and lighting designer Evgeny Vinogradov (premiered on December 20, 2019);
- Eduardas Balsys’ opera The Journey to Tilsit, staged by Lithuanian director Gytis Padegimas and his loyal companion, set and costume designer Birutė Ukrinaitė (premiered on November 22, 2019);
- Eduardas Balsys’ ballet Eglė, Queen of the Grass Snakes, staged by a team of young artists, including choreographer Martynas Rimeikis, conductor Modestas Barkauskas, set designer Marijus Jacovskis, and costume designer Elvita Brazdylytė (premiered on August 16, 2019);
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, staged by an international team of distinguished artists: conductor Josef Wallnig who is currently Head of Institute for Mozart Interpretation at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, director Jonas Vaitkus, set designer Gintaras Makarevičius, and costume designer Sandra Straukaitė (premiered on May 17, 2019);
- Mikis Theodorakis’ ballet Zorba the Greek, staged by the world-famous choreographer and librettist for this ballet, Lorca Massine (premiered on August 10, 2018).
Every August since 1998 the Klaipėda State Musical Theatre has organized the international opera and symphonic music festival “Musical August at the Seaside,” taking place in Klaipėda, Nida, Juodkrantė, Kretinga, Palanga and other towns in western Lithuania. The festival’s roster usually features the premieres of new productions and concerts held in the most spectacular open-air locations by the sea.
Since 2018 the theatre’s building has been undergoing a major renovation. The newly built section will have the Main Auditorium with an audience capacity of 700 and the Chamber Hall of 200. The refurbishment will also encompass the installation of up-to-date sound, lighting and stage equipment and new rehearsal spaces. The renovation project also aims to retain original post-war elements in the architecture of the building. It is planned to be finished within three years.