G. Kuprevičius‘ Prussians was the first historical opera, created and presented in Lithuania after it has regained its independence. It was first unveiled in 1997 at the Klaipėda State Musical Theatre. It is truly symbolic that in 2018 Klaipėda State Musical Theatre chose this opera to commemorate the centenary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence.
G. Kuprevičius wrote a dedication in his score: “To the memory of those who disappeared, to warn those who are living”. The storyline of the work is recounting the tragic fate of the Prussian people. At its centre we encounter the historical personality of Herkus Mantas, whose personal interests oppose the nation’s striving for freedom. The nation cannot survive without its leader, and the leader is unable to do so without his beloved Kristina… And yet Herkus Mantas chooses, the patriot of his people, lets go of his personal freedom and chooses to mercilessly fight the usurpers of his homeland.
Already in the beginning of the 20th century, when the cultural resurrection also raised the idea of a national opera, it turned into an inseparable element of the restoration of the state. There are not too many Lithuanian operas that managed to assume strong positions not only on the stage, but also in the memory of the audience; Prussians, on the other hand, already proved its historical, cultural and lasting value. The tour of the opera in Vilnius, dedicated to the 78th anniversary of the composer, will contribute to the broader promotion of the “golden fund” of national opera.