Working in the Royal Archive in Madrid Spanish capellmeister Alexis Soriano was far from seeking any historical sensations. But suddenly he came across a piece of music dated 1872 which was entitled ‘Everard II, the king of Lithuania’.
Being of Lithuanian heritage, Mr Soriano could not help directing his attention to such a strange archival document. “I noticed its title on the list and asked a filing clerk: ‘Could you show me this score?’ She was utterly amazed: ‘What for would you like to have it? Nobody has filed for this piece for many years.’ I saw the score; it was in perfect condition and music turned out to be wonderful,” he told journalists at a press conference in Vilnius.
Inspired by the Great Principality of Lithuania
The opera was composed by Joao de Sousa Carvalho on the occasion of the birthday of Pedro III, the then Portuguese king. As at the end of the 18th century little-known countries were the fashion this outlying state did fix the author’s eye. The opera was staged only once; later the score was put on the shelf.
Naturally, the events described in the opera fail to put the historical record straight but some renowned figures of the Principality as Aliaksandr Yagellonchyk and Mikhalon Litvin are mentioned in it. The situation develops in the Vaukavysk Castle in the 16th century by latest.
Dainius Būrė who translated the text of the opera into the Lithuanian language said that its authors were delighted with the strength of the Great Principality of Lithuania showing the fight for power closely connected to the romantic idea. “In this opera Lithuania is going through a hard time of power struggle. Of course, love and power are key topics in the plot line”.
Opera to come alive again
After finding a valuable score Alexis Soriano got in touch with Lithuanian musicians and museum workers who were excited with the news and decided to restore the forgotten opera. In December Mr Soriano and Vilnius Symphonette orchestra are to stage it in the Royal Palace. Everard II, the king of Lithuania will be performed for the second time after it has been in oblivion for about 300 years.