Open To The World ’23: Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, Dagilėlis & Marius Beck

A special Sunday evening: Lithuania’s premier boys’ choir, Dagilėlis, and the country’s leading mixed choir, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, joined forces for the first time in Vilnius. They were accompanied by the Norwegian singer and guitarist, Marius Beck. The concert showcased a delightful array of modern choral compositions, adaptations of popular music, and festive Christmas melodies.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius presented the final concert of the Open To The World 2023 Festival at the Philharmonic Hall on December 10. Over 80 singers from both choirs showcased a stylistically diverse and unique musical program. The concert also featured pianist Motiejus Bazaras, a string quartet led by Augustas Gocentas, and solo performances by choir singers Mindaugas Rumšas (saxophone) and Justinas Stanevičius (vocals).

Photo Gallery

Choras Dagilėlis

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ First Encounter with the Talented Dagilėlis

Chorai Bel Canto & Dagilėlis

Dagilėlis is the best boys choir in Lithuania. It uniquely combines different styles of music and is distinguished by its emotional performances. The ensemble has garnered significant international acclaim, frequently performing abroad and consistently emerging triumphant in various international competitions. Functioning as a singing school, Dagilėlis significantly contributes to boys education and Lithuania’s education framework in general.

The choir prepared a lively festive program for the Vilnius audience. A special highlight was the choir’s flagship rendition of the well-known piece “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” In this performance, the singers skillfully emulated the sounds of nature and the inhabitants of the jungle, complemented by artful choreography. Notably, this Dagilėlis performance has garnered over 6 million views on YouTube alone.

A Passion for Modern Choral Music and Experiments

Choras Bel Canto

The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius program will include works by the world’s most famous contemporary composers, such as Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, and Lithuanian composer Donatas Zakaras. Additionally, the choir will perform several popular music arrangements.

This time, the choir will surprise the audience with a striking choreography to accompany composer Jake Runestad’s energetic Nyon Nyon and Billy Joel’s famous River Of Dreams. Paulius Šinkūnas created the choreography for the choir.

A Lasting Bond: Bel Canto Choir’s Friendship with Marius Beck

Marius Beck & Choras Bel Canto

The friendship between Marius Beck and Bel Canto Choir Vilnius began in 2018. Since then, they have performed four concerts; Marius also contributed to the recording of the choir’s album, Open To The World.

A finalist in the “The Voice Norway” competition in 2012, he also shared the stage with renowned Eric Whitacre at the iTunes Festival and released his solo album, showcasing his distinctive vocal style and proficient acoustic guitar skills.

In this concert, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and Marius Beck performed several pieces together, arranged by another choir friend, Swedish composer Henrik Dahlgren.

One Night Only: 80 Singers from Dagilėlis & Bel Canto Choir Vilnius at the Cozy Philharmonic

Chorai Bel Canto & Dagilėlis

The concert featured a spectacular finale, too, with a special highlight being the treasure of Ukrainian heritage, the song “Shchedryk.” Both choirs performed this song together as a call to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom.

“Shchedryk” tells the story of a swallow who flies into a man’s house and, with its song, tells him of a rich and beautiful life when spring comes. Composed of a four-part archaic motif, “Shchedryk” was arranged in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. Its melody later found new life in the English Christmas song “Carol of the Bells,” now an integral part of festive repertoire worldwide.

The Bel Canto Choir Vilnius first performed “Shchedryk” in 2010. The song’s recording remains the most popular on the choir’s Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube channels and has been used on the soundtracks of several films. One such film is the biographical drama “Sisi & Ich,” which debuted at this year’s Berlin Film Festival.

Concert Program

Choras Bel Canto

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius

Evening Prayer
Ola Gjeilo

The Seal Lullaby
Eric Whitacre

Laiškai Sofijai
Donatas Zakaras

This Is My Song
Jean Sibelius, arr. Blake Morgan

Hurt
Trent Reznor, arr. Eric Whitacre

In Bloom
Kurt Cobain, arr. Henrik Dahlgren

Crawling
Linkink Park, arr. Henrik Dahlgren

White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes | Pentatonix

River of Dreams
Billy Joel

Nyon Nyon
Jake Runestad

Dagilėlis Boys Choir

Tylią Naktį, Šventą Naktį
Becki Slagle Mayo

Choras Dagilėlis

Pacem
Lee Dengler

Sure On This Shining Night
Morten Lauridsen

Riu, Riu, Chiu
Mateo Flecha

Du Dob Dob
Vaclovas Augustinas

Sixteen Tons
Merle Travis

Song of Hope
Susanna Lindmark

The Lion Sleeps Tonight
George David Weiss

Jesus, Oh, What a Wonderful Child
Lloyd Larson

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius & Dagilėlis Together

O Magnum Mysterium
Morten Lauridsen

Shchedryk (Carol Of The Bells)
Traditional, arr. Mykola Leontovych

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
Edward Pola & George Wyle, arr. Rasmus Krigström

Artists & Performers

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius (artistic director & conductor Milda Švelnienė)
Dagilėlis Boys Choir (artistic director & conductor Remigijus Adomaitis)
Marius Beck (vocal & guitar)
Motiejus Bazaras (piano)
String Quartet led by Augustas Gocentas

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ artistic director Milda Švelnienė, choirmasters Raminta Gocentienė and Stasė Žaltauskaitė-Malūnavičienė, vocal coaches Eglė Stundžiaitė and Eimantas Bešėnas. “Open To The World” and choir producer Audrius Valatkevičius.

Marius Beck & Choras Bel Canto

Sponsors & Partners

Open To The World 2023

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ Open To The World is a unique choral music project in Lithuania that has become a tradition. This year it will evolve into Vilnius’s first-ever vocal-choral music festival. It aims to introduce modern choral music, the world’s best choirs, vocal ensembles, and composers to Lithuanian audiences, promote Western culture, and create, innovate, and improve. Together.

Open To The World 2023 guests include Grammy-nominated VOCES8, the world’s best and most popular British vocal ensemble; Zero8, Sweden’s best and most popular men’s choir; Sweden’s premier vocal ensemble Ringmasters, Dagilėlis, the best boys choir in Lithuania, and Norwegian vocalist and guitarist Marius Beck.

The festival is sponsored by engineering, prefab, and construction company INHUS, Business Garden Vilnius office park, Newsec, the largest property consultancy in Scandinavia, and the Baltics, Vilnius City Municipality, and the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The project’s media partner is LRT TV, and its advertising partner is Ogilvy advertising agency.

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