Music and homage to President among the highlights at the opening of Thomas Mann Festival

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2019-07-12

The opening ceremony of the 23rdInternational Thomas Mann Festival to be held on 13 July (Saturday) will start with an opening concert and will pay homage to President Valdas Adamkus, a long-term patron of the festival who, over the course of the decade, has not missed a single festival and who will be granted honorary citizenship by the city of Neringa.

The ceremony held in honour of President V. Adamkus during which he will be awarded the regalia of the honorary citizen will take place on 14 July (Monday) at 10:00 a.m. in the Catholic church of Nida.

The former head of state has been the patron of the Thomas Mann Festival since 1999. Each year, he personally attends the festival’s opening ceremony. Moreover, he has taken part in the discussions of the Spoken Word programme multiple times.

According to Dr. Lina Motuzienė, Director of the festival organiser, Thomas Mann Cultural Centre, President V. Adamkus’s exceptional commitment to the festival has become a testimony to the quality and prestige of this event. “This partnership is important not only for this event but also for Neringa as a whole. It is of crucial importance for the development of the tradition of intellectual cultural events and cultural tourism in this unique spot of Lithuania,” Dr. L. Motuzienė said.

Thomas Mann Festival will begin with an opening concert in Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nida. The festival will be centered around this year’s theme “Europe of Homelands”. The first concert will include the performances of the works of Franz Schubert, pioneer of musical Romanticism, and Ernst Křenek, a 20th century composer of Czech origin and contemporary of Thomas Mann. The programme will be performed by Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and Nida-born pianist Gaiva Bandzinaitė currently based in Austria.

Visitors will be offered some 30 events dedicated to music, art, film and spoken word during the cultural week which will take place from 13 to 20 July in Nida. The theme titled “Europe of Homelands” is meant to provoke thought and invite people to talk about manifold meanings of the term “homeland”. Homeland may be your home, a city or a country you were born in, or a sense of togetherness. It may also be a holiday homeland, an idea nurtured by the writer Th. Mann family who called Nida their holiday homeland and had a recurring desire to go to the seaside.

This year, the programme of the international event will include numerous prominent names on the culture scene as well as traditional and new initiatives. Music lovers will be able to enjoy interpretations of European and Lithuanian classical music, works from the “golden collection” of classical chamber music, debut performances of Lithuanian composers Onutė Narbutaitė and Teisutis Makačinas, and the presentation of the end result of the creative workshops of young conductors. The art programme will include modern art projects and a historic statement on gender equality: exhibition of the paintings from private collections featuring the works of the East Prussian female artists who pursued their creative endeavours in Nida Art Colony. Visitors will also have a chance to attend the festival’s film screening nights featuring the works of European cinematographers.

The festival will feature a performance by the operatic tenor Edgaras Montvidas who is celebrating the 20thyear anniversary of his creative career this year; meetings with Jindrich Mann, the Czech writer and film director and grandson of Thomas Mann’s brother Heinrich; Canadian-Lithuanian writer and director of the school for creative writing Antanas Šileika; German literary scholar Uwe Neumann; and Polish poet and translator Tomasz Różycki.

The festival venues will include Writer Thomas Mann Memorial Museum, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nida, the Curonian Spit History Museum, V. and K. Mizgiriai Artists’ House, Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts, and Neringa Gymnasium.

All events will be held in Lithuanian and German. Full festival programme and tickets are available at www.mann.lt.

Main festival sponsor: the Lithuanian Council for Culture.