Synopsis and Team
Opera GEROS DIENOS
(Opera HAVE A NICE DAY!)
Vaiva Grainytė (Text/Librettist, Lithuania)
Lina Lapelytė (Composer, Lithuania)
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (Director/Staging, Lithuania)
Daiva Samajauskaitė (Costume Designer, Lithuania)
Eugenijus Sabaliauskas (Lighting designer, Lithuania)
Arūnas Zujus (Sound director, Lithuania)
Production: Independent creative group OPEROMANIJA, (Lithuania)
The opera Have a Nice Day! (for 10 voices, piano and live electronics) is a strange ode to capitalism, that illustrates the inevitability of consumption. The anonymous cashier, a person one meets every day, becomes a collective character.
The plot of this opera is set around the inner lives of cashiers in a shopping centre and looks at everything that lies behind the mechanical “Good afternoon. Thank you. Have a nice day!”, followed by a smile. The faceless, robot-like shop workers to be found in everyday life are transformed into striking opera characters; their secret thoughts and biographies are revealed to the audience and turned into short, personal dramas. The characters of the various saleswomen represent the social landscape of Lithuania and reflect the topics of the day, such as emigration, unemployment and a patriarchate-dominant mentality, or serve as stylistic figures created for musical and textual variation.
Inner monologues reflect each cashier’s personal characteristics, education, the way they speak and their personal problems. The libretto of the opera combines documentary and poetic layers. The text itself is a revealing mosaic of spoken language, poetry and social issues. To avoid any moral or condemnatory suggestion, a critical attitude towards capitalism is expressed through humour, paradox, irony and poetry. The mosaic of different destinies is transformed into one ode suggesting the pleasure of consumption. The audience is doing more than just snooping on the inner worlds of the cashiers, they are also acknowledging that they too are part of the unavoidable circle of earning and spending.
The atmosphere of a supermarket is established before the audience even find their way into the hall: on the door their tickets are checked by security guards – a very familiar presence in shopping malls – one of whom will play the piano later on. A glinting and buzzing installation of daylight lamps connects the audience space with the ten cashiers on stage. The physical qualities of the performers are precisely tuned to the musical and textual score, each face tells a separate story. The lighting design has two layers: the first aims at creating a realistic, aesthetically cold atmosphere, while the second has a theatrical effect, highlighting each cashier when she sings. Goods – the obligatory decoration of a shopping centre – exist only in acoustic and verbal form: monotonous melodies and an abundance of groceries attack the viewers’ ears and imagination. The only actual props are transparent lists of bar-codes that are scanned by the scanners, beeping and blinking their red lights throughout the entire performance. All the cashiers in the opera are imprisoned in their workplace, only occasionally are they able to leave it for a short period.
Background / Biographies
Vaiva Grainytė (1984) is a Lithuanian writer, poet and essayist. Using her texts as media, she collaborates with various artists and participates in audio-poetry projects. Her debut book “Beijing diaries” was nominated for the “Year of the Book 2012” and is acclaimed as a stylistic phenomenon. Grainytė’s oeuvre comprises poetry, wit, surrealism and a critical attitude towards social issues. She is currently working on a new book of short stories and is also an editor of an art news website.
Lina Lapelytė (1984) lives and works in London and Vilnius. She is an artist, composer and performer currently exploring the phenomena of song. Using song as an object, Lina examines the issues of displacement, otherness and beauty. Re-enactment supports her investigation into aesthetics, control and reality. Lapelytė has been exhibiting and performing at the DRAF, Royal Festival Hall, ICA BBC proms, Tate Modern (London), CAC (Vilnius), CCA (Glasgow), Ikon (Birmingham), Skopje Biennale and the Holland Festival.
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (1983) is film and theatre artist from Lithuania. She pursued her BA in Theatre Directing and Cinematography at LMTA (Vilnius) and MA in Screen Documentary at Goldsmith’s (London). Rugilė experiments with the boundaries between documentary and fiction, performing and being, filming and seeing. In her theatre works she uses elements of environmental art and cinema, such as unconventional solutions to the scenic space, participatory position of the audience, realistic acting, and true narratives.
Independent creative group OPEROMANIJA is an assembly of young generation artists from various spheres: poets and composers, theatre directors and soloists, instrumentalists and conductors, video artists and stage designers, whose goal is to create contemporary opera. Over a period of five years since 2008, OPEROMANIJA has organized five contemporary opera festivals NOA (New Opera Action) and created and staged over 30 contemporary Lithuanian operas. OPEROMANIJA is an active promoter of music theatre and contemporary art in Lithuania.
Sound / Music
"Have a Good Day!" is an ode to capitalism that illustrates the inevitability of consumption. In the opera, the anonymous cashier one meets every day becomes an individual character. Performers refute a classical way of singing and instead the cashiers’ arias sound more like repetitive, trite melodies, reminiscent of the endless, monotonous movement of goods along a conveyer. The minimalistic music of the opera is composed of various environmental sounds and the acoustic diversity of a shopping centre.
“The key sound throughout the opera is the monotonous beeping that happens every time an item is scanned. It might get louder or quieter, but it is always there. The songs that accompany the beeping are as monotonous as the process of shopping and selling. Instead of becoming the main point of the opera, the music serves the thoughts of the cashiers – it facilitates their voice.” (LINA LAPELYTĖ, composer)
Awards / Performances
In 2013 “Have a Good Day!” was selected by an International Theatre Institute (ITI) jury for a presentation
at the final of the worldwide competition “Music Theatre NOW” (Biennial for Performing Arts, Jönköping,
Sweden), where the work was awarded the "Globe Teana-Theatre Observation" prize. In 2014 “Have a Good
Day!” was awarded the "Golden Stage Cross" prize for the best Lithuanian Authors' Performance and two Baltic
Theatre Festival prizes. The opera was presented in various music, theatre and opera festivals in Lithuania
and abroad (Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival ACT, Contemporary Music Theatre
and Opera Festival PROTOTYPE in New York, Theatre festival GOLDEN MASK in Moscow, Baltic Theatre
Festival in Riga, AUTOMNE EN NORMANDIE in Le Havre, NEXT Festival in Villeneuve d’Ascq). The opera was
also broadcasted on Lithuanian National Radio and BBC Radio 3.