Lithuanian tenor Virgilijus Noreika has passed away.
Considered Lithuania’s foremost tenor of the second half of the 20th century, Noreika was born in Šiauliai and graduated with honors from the Lithuanian State Conservatory in 1958. After graduating, he became an ensemble member of the National Opera and Ballet Theater of Lithuania, where he went on to perform numerous roles including his signature role Alfredo Germont in Verdi’s “La Traviata.”
In 1965, the tenor made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala where he became regular and performed a total of six roles including Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly,” Cavaradossi in “Tosca,” and the title role in Verdi’s “Otello.”
He also performed at the Opéra National de Paris and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, as well as the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires. Over his career, he went on to perform 40 roles, 1,000 performances and worked in 30 foreign theaters. He also made numerous recordings.
After he retired from the stage, he went on to teach at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In 2017, in honor of his achievements, The First International Virgilijus Noreika Competition for Singers was organized and will take place every four years.
Virgilijus Noreika passed away on March 3, 2018.
Here is a clip of the tenor performing from “La Bohème.”