Open To The World ’23: Zero8 & Bel Canto Choir Vilnius

Zero8, the best and most popular male choir in Sweden, and Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, the best choir in Lithuania, will meet for the second time in Vilnius! They will present a new festive program that seamlessly melds classical, contemporary choral, barbershop, and popular music.

Bel Canto Choir Vilnius presents a special evening in Vilnius – the fourth concert of the Open To The World 2023 Vocal Music Festival. At 6 pm on Sunday, December 3, in the cozy St. Catherine’s Church, more than 80 Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and Zero8 singers will deliver a diverse, daring, and distinctive musical experience. The concert will also feature pianist Motiejus Bazaras, and solo roles will be performed by choir singers Mindaugas Rumšas (saxophone), Justinas Stanevičius, and Agnė Bagdonavičienė (vocals).



Growing Friendship Fueled by Enchanted Audiences and Love for Vilnius

Zero8 has made a name for itself as a barbershop, jazz, and pop choir, but it eventually expanded its repertoire to include classical works. With a group of over 40 singers, Zero8 has won the European Barbershop Championship four times in a row, received numerous awards, and represented Sweden at the 2019 Eurovision Choir Contest.

The bond between Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and Zero8 began last year when the popular Swedes visited Lithuania for the first time to participate in the Open To The World 2022. Both choirs performed a mind-blowing sold-out concert at the Philharmonic.

Zero8 returns to beloved Vilnius this year with a new program featuring the best music ever written for a male choir. They will skillfully and tastefully combine classical, Swedish traditional, pop, and jazz music. The choir members always sing what they love, showing their passion for music from the bottom of their hearts.

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 One-Of-A-Kind Evening in Vilnius: 80 Singers from Zero8 & Bel Canto Choir Vilnius at the Cozy St. Catherine’s Church

The concert will feature a spectacular finale, with a special highlight being the treasure of Ukrainian heritage, the song “Shchedryk.” The Swedes and Lithuanians will perform 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.

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

Evening Prayer
Ola Gjeilo

O Magnum Mysterium
Morten Lauridsen

Conversion of Saul
Z. Randall Stroope

Laiškai Sofijai
Donatas Zakaras

Trent Reznor, aranžuotė Eric Whitacre

The Seal Lullaby
Eric Whitacre

White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes | Pentatonix

River of Dreams
Billy Joel

Nyon Nyon
Jake Runestad


Angelus ad Virginem
Tradicinė giesmė

Veni, Emmanuel
Prancūzų tradicinė giesmė, aranžuotė: Jan-Åke Hillerud

In Winter’s House
Joanna Marsh

Santa Claus is Coming to Town
John Frederick Coots & Haven Gillspie, aranžuotė Rasmus Krigström

Northern Lights
Ola Gjeilo

Stig In Lucia
Solveig Hernth-Grippe

Hej, Dunkom Så Länge Vi Levom
Švedų tradicinė giesmė, aranžuotė P. J. F. Vilhelm Svedbom

Richard Strauss

In My Life
John Lennon & Paul MacCartney, aranžuotė Steve Zegree

Godec Pred Peklom
Slovėnų tradicinė giesmė, aranžuotė Nana Forte

Jean Sibelius

Zero8 ir Choras Bel Canto kartu

Labrinth, aranžuotė Owen Ladd

Shchedryk (Carol Of The Bells)
Tradicinė giesmė, aranžuotė Mykola Leontovych

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

Artists & Performers

Zero8 (artistic director & conductor Rasmus Krigström)
Bel Canto Choir Vilnius (artistic director & conductor Milda Švelnienė)
Motiejus Bazaras (piano)

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.

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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