Lithuania’s special 2009 to be perfused with light

On the eve of 2009, Vilnius residents and visitors can witness the unique musical fiesta of dance, sound and light. On the occasion of the opening of the national programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009” and Millennium of Lithuania events, the last night in December will invite spectators to gather in the central part of Vilnius to watch the modern music and dance project @hofmann_Spragtukas followed by the spectacular music and light show created specially for Lithuania by Gert Hof referred to as the world’s most famous artist of light.

Musical to blend classics and modernism

“Everyone who comes to celebrate year 2009 in Vilnius won’t forget the New Year night for long. This should be no surprise as we’ll greet year 2009 when Vilnius becomes European capital of culture and Lithuania celebrates its name millennium. Musical show @hofmann_Spragtukas, which blends the classical and contemporary genres, and the multi-stage fiesta of light and music perfusing entire Vilnius will open the gate to Lithuania's historic year,” says Director of “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009” Elona Bajorinienė.

The grand programme is planned to start at 11 p.m. when the audience will be invited to the 45-minute musical @hofmann_Spragtukas. It will be shown on the wall of Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports. The façade of the palace will transform into a multi-levelled glazed wall, enabling demonstration of the show in the outdoor environment even in winter. Spectators won’t need to stand near the Sport Palace as the musical will be covered live on huge screens installed on Cathedral Square.

@hofmann_Spragtukas is the interpretation of E.T.A. Hofmann’s fairy tale and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker where the classical work of music will transform into a colourful contemporary musical. This spectacle of dance and music will involve more than 150 music performers, dancers, actors and stuntmen. The musical is “seasoned” with impressive audio and visual effects: multi-levelled stage and a unique blend of lasers, light projections and special and pyrotechnical effects.

Light from the Cathedral to reach outer space

Around midnight, when the musical @hofmann_Spragtukas ends, we’ll see a performance by the world’s most famous artist of light Gert Hof, who created a sound and light show for the special occasion of Lithuania's two historic dates. A live combination of real and surreal views will symbolise the evolution of Lithuania over 1,000 years and astonishing images will render meaning to the living culture of Vilnius.

This project should become the culmination of the New Year’s celebration. Attracting thousands of spectators to his shows of light and fire and christened the Prometheus of the twenty first century, on Cathedral Square Gert Hof is going to present his work of modern art without analogues worldwide.

For his show he’ll employ the world’s most advanced and most powerful light installations including 60 giant high-resolution multi-coloured spotlights, 10 world’s most powerful laser cannons, etc.


The light-maker says that during one part of the grand event the Cathedral will be lit with a gale of light 400 meters in diameter and about 50km in height, which should be visible from not only corners remote from Vilnius, but also… outer space.

Hof’s eight-part light and sound show lasting for about 20 minutes will culminate in synchronically shooting high-rise (about 300m) fireworks in Lithuanian national colours.

New Year events as signpost to next year’s programme

Director of “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009” Bajorinienė says that the two art projects will reflect the harmony of the traditional and contemporary culture of Vilnius. Musical @hofmann_Spragtukas on the right bank of Neris River, which symbolises a modern metropolis, later will pass the friendly baton to the old left bank, which traces back to the birth of Vilnius, to depict Lithuanian historic path using contemporary media of art.

© VECC @hofmann_Spragtukas and Gert Hof’s show of sound and light will open next year's programme of the capital of culture and Lithuanian millennium events. In 2009, plans are to hold nearly 900 events of the programme “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009”.

Events on New Year eve are expected to attract to Vilnius about 50,000 people from Lithuania and other countries. Live coverage on LTV is also planned, therefore all residents of Lithuania will have the opportunity to watch the exclusive New Year’s night in Vilnius.

Opening events of “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009” and Millennium of Lithuania invite Lithuanian leaders of culture, art, politics and other public areas, famous foreign artists, heads of other European capitals of culture and representatives from the European Commission. More than 1,000 invited guests will have the opportunity to watch the musical @hofmann_Spragtukas and Gert Hof’s light show from Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports.

More about events of “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009" and Millennium of Lithuania on 31 December 2008

Musical show @hofmann_Spragtukas

The original interpretation of E.T.A. Hofmann’s fairy tale and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker blends classical music, the fairy tale and mysticism with the contemporary combination of genres and subtle eclecticism, typical of the art of the twenty first century. The entire musical is prevailed by the artistic discussion between the past, tradition and contemporary media of expression.

The music writers for the show are three contemporary Lithuanian composers Linas Rimša, Marius Matulevičius and Marius Adomaitis. The compositions are innovative and associated with today's taste whereas classical ballet turns into a contemporary musical. Rock and jazz performers Valerijus Ramoška, Danielius Praspaliauskis, Skirmantas Sasnauskas and Aurelijus Globys will render new colours to the classical scale.

The show is greatly focused on the art of dancing. The ballet troupe of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre representing the classical ballet school with the most outstanding Lithuanian dancers Olga Konošenko, Aurimas Paulauskas, etc. will interweave with hip-hop and break groups demonstrating contemporary dance movements.

Neither will the vocal plane lack controversial excursuses from today to classics. The project will involve opera soloists Joana Gedminaitė, Mindaugas Jankauskas and Ignas Misiūra, accompanied by chamber choir Brevis, which boasts the best European choir award. The alternative plane of the show features leader of G&G Sindikatas band Svaras and his team.

The creative group of the show includes Dainius Gudaitis, Dalius Abaris, Skirmantė Vaitkutė and Mykolas Vildžiūnas.

Plot. The multi-levelled glass wall of the Palace of Concerts and Sports symbolises the modern centre of Vilnius on the right bank of Neris River. The stage features emptying buildings of business centres, fading lights, and employees leaving their offices for the night... Only one window is still lit where a lonely tale character leans at the office desk. Dozed off, he finds himself in virtual reality where the other life seethes. Here he becomes Neo, character of the Internet-based computer game. And he dreams of a tale about the bold Nutcracker. From the other side of the river, the historic bank of Vilnius, there flies a comet and a star lights up over the building. Neo becomes general of the courageous, yet not numerous, army of good - the Nutcracker. He is destined to resist the siege of computer “mouses” and “viruses” lead by the Red King. A girl rushes to help Neo. Love reinforces the character’s powers and gives victory to his army. As in all fairy-tales, good triumphs over evil.

Gert Hof’s show of sound and light created for the occasion of “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009” and the Millennium of Lithuania

As the director himself describes, for the first time in history the lighting projection for this work will employ anamorphosis, which will enable people to experience the flourishes of light projection even from quite a distance away as if they were in the epicentre of the show.

Lasting for about 20 minutes, Gert Hof’s work will consist of eight parts:

Part 1 – Millennium of Lithuania. Commemoration of the Millennium of Lithuania will be symbolised by the overture and a procession of 1,000 people with attributes from different periods: costumes, flags and emblems at the music of respective epochs.
Part 2 – Shot of Gediminas’ Arrow. Laser and pyrotechnical installations will prevail. Plans are to use laser technologies to replicate Duke Gediminas’ shot to the Iron Wolf, whereas the “arrow ricochet” will be accompanied with pyrotechnical rounds.
Part 3 – Lithuanian National Colours. Bengal lights in national colours will be installed on the roof of the Belfry Tower, Arch-cathedral Basilica and Gediminas’ Monument.
Part 4 – Sun of Vilnius. A giant light installation. The stream of light will be visible within as far as 60 kilometres from the event location. The sky of Vilnius will be perfused with the “Millennium Sun of Lithuania" 15km in diameter and 20km in height, which symbolises the sunny future.
Part 5 – Picture of Europe. The Cathedral and the Belfry Tower will drown in blue neon light, which will express the colours of single Europe whereas the blend of neon chains will render meaning to cultural dialogue and communication. This solution will be implemented using about 5km of fluorescent lamps. The light installation will pass from static shining to powerful motion by transforming Cathedral Square into the “Picture of Europe” accompanied with pyrotechnical rounds rendering meaning to the unity of Europe.
Part 6 – Vilnius Cathedral. One of the parts of the grand event will be dedicated to the Cathedral of exclusive architecture, which will be lit with a gale of light 400m in diameter and about 50km in height visible from corners remote from Vilnius or even from outer space!
Part 7 – Mouth of Vilnelė. In this part the laser will shape a landscape in the sky where the laser ray will draw curves of the river. This image will be created using the laser systems installed on the Belfry Tower, including 10 the world's most powerful laser cannons with the ray diameter of approximately 40 kilometres. The image of Vilnelė River above Vilnius is a futuristic challenge.
Part 8 – The Minor of Basilica. Millennium. The culmination will be symbolised with keys crossed in the canopy of heaven which demonstrate the peaceful coexistence of Europe, resolution and the responsibility of each members of the community. In the solemn culmination elements will merge into one entirety, which will be crowned with synchronised shots of high-rise (around 300m) fireworks.
Director of the show Gert Hof (Germany) is considered the world's most famous creator of light shows. The list of his several dozens of light and music extravaganzas includes the Millennium Show in Berlin on 31 December 1999 (600,000 visitors) and in Athens (1.9 million visitors), the Millennium Festival in Being on 31 December 2000 (4.2 million visitors and 1.2 billion TV spectators), Europe Day on 9 May 2003 in Athens (1.2 million visitors), grand Moscow City Days fiesta on 6 September 2003 on Red Square (500,000 visitors), etc.



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