Balys Sruoga about Kipras Petrauskas: in search of national style of acting

  • Rasa Vasinauskaitė
Keywords: Lohengrin, Kipras Petrauskas, Richard Wagner, national style of acting, opera direction, Lithuanian opera


The article discusses Balys Sruoga’s attitude towards State opera and Lohengrin created by soloist Kipras Petrauskas in the performance “Lohengrin” (Dir. Nikolay Vekov, 1926). Based on Petrauskas’ treatise, Sruoga identified the peculiarities of the national/Lithuanian style of acting, emphasized Lohengrin’s “popular and folk expression”, but did not analyze a wider context of the appearance of this image. By the examples of Richard Wagner’s works and performers it was stated that Lohengrin by Petrauskas was close to the Russian opera theatre and two of the most prominent performers of this role, Leonid Sobinov and Ivan Ershov. It was noted that at the beginning of the 20th century the changes in opera production and directing tradition, which was originally held in Russia by Vsevolod Mejerhold, whose performances were watched and later played by Petrauskas, had very little influence on the Lithuanian opera theatre, opera directing and opera acting. Opera performances followed a realistic tradition of the 19th century, and the stage expression did not depend on the director but on the soloists with excellent vocal and dramatic talent. So when it comes to the Lithuanian features of Lohengrin and the Lithuanian style of acting, it is obvious that this impression was made by the personality of Kipras Petrauskas, the world famous Lithuanian opera soloist.