Friday, 3 August 2012

Baras' concerts

Stasys Baras

In February 1970 a concert was performed by tenor Stasys Baras at the Adelaide Festival of Arts.  The Lithuanian community invited Mr Baras to Adelaide.  He was described as “one of the leading voices in the world of today.  In 1958, he was selected as the best male singer in the United States at the Chicago Music Festival”. 

He sang lead roles in famous operas such as Faust, Tosca, Carmen, Il Travatore, Aida, Pagliacci, Fidelio, Grazina, Dana with the Lithuanian Opera company in Chicago.  His first record of operatic areas was released in 1966.

For the concert in Adelaide, Mr Baras sang with now Adelaidian, Genovaitė Vasiliauskienė.  She was described as one of the leading sopranos among Lithuanian singers. After finishing the Conservatorium singing classes in Kaunas she studied singing in Germany and in Australia.  For more than 10 years she sang with the ABC radio in Adelaide.  Twice she participated as a soloist in the Adelaide Arts festival.  As a soloist she toured all capital cities in Australia and in the USA and Canada in 1964.  Her first record was recorded in 1969 with the Adelaide Symphony orchestra. 

A well known Adelaide pianist, Shirley Hicks accompanied them.

The two part concert began with Stasys singing three arias from Donaudy, Handel and Giordano.  This was followed by Vasiliauskienė singing four songs.  Stasys followed this with several Lithuanian folk songs. The second half began with a duet from Bizet, followed by three songs sung by Baras.  Vasiliauskienė sang several pieces form operas and the concert ended with Baras singing from Carmen and Halevy.

Stasys Baras returned to Adelaide two years later to perform again in the Adelaide Festival of Arts.  This time he brought Dana Stankaitis, a Lithuanian born soprano who lived in Chicago, USA.  Dana was also a member of the Chicago Opera company and sang leading roles in Carmen, Il Trovatore, Aida, La forza del Destino, Grazina, Dana, Fidelio, Cavalleria Rusticana and other operas.
They were again accompanied on piano by Shirley Hicks.

They gave a recital of songs and operatic arias, from Verdi, Bizet.  A concert was also performed at the Adelaide Lithuanian House on 18th March 1972.  Here they sang a number of songs written by Lithuanians, such as Šimkus, Banaitis, Jakubėnas and Gaidelis.

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