Obituary: Professor Virgilijus Noreika (1935–2018)

2018 March 3 the famous Lithuanian tenor Virgilijus Noreika died at the age of 82. He was a longtime professor of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA).

Virgilijus Kęstutis Noreika (22 September 1935 – 3 March 2018) was born in Šiauliai and graduated with honors from the then Lithuanian State Conservatory (current LMTA) in 1958, solo singing class with prof. Kipras Petrauskas. A year earlier, while still a student, he was engaged as a performer at the National Opera and Ballet Theater of Lithuania. In 1959, Noreika sang the part of Alfredo Germont in Verdi’s La traviata, one of Noreika’s favorite and most frequently performed roles. Later in 1965, he continued his career at the La Scala, in Milan. There he mastered six new roles, and also sang the part of Pinkerton, from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, at the famous Opera House.  

In 1976 Noreika started working at the Lithuanian Academy of Musiv and Theatre, where he continued teaching until the end of his life. In recent years, semi-retired, he was a Professor at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Noreika’s creative biography comprises more than 40 operatic roles: Cavaradossi from Tosca by Puccini, Faust from Faust be Gounod, Rudolfo from La bohème by Puccini, Otello from Otello by Verdi, to name a few. Noreika has performed in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre, in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colón, in Paris at the Opéra National de Paris, and many other famous opera houses. Noreika has sung in more than 30 foreign theaters, participated in more than 1000 performances. In 1997, he celebrated his 40th anniversary as an operatic tenor, and received the Kipras Award from the Opera Fellow Society.

In 2010 he received the Lithuanian National Prize – the most honorable award for achievements in culture and the arts.

In order to honor his achievements The First International Virgilijus Noreika Competition for Singers was organised in 2017. The competition will take place every four years around the birth date of Noreika.

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Farewell to Prof. Virgilijus Noreika at the Main Hall of the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (Vienuolio str. 1, Vilnius):

5 March (Monday): from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
6 March (Tuesday): from 9 a.m.

The coffin shall be carried from the theatre on Tuesday, at 1 p.m.
The funeral shall be held at 2 p.m., at the Hill of Artists of the Antakalnis cemetery. 
A Sacred Mass for the soul of Maestro shall be held on 6 March at 10 a.m., at the Vilnius Cathedral.