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Alexander Vilumanis (Conductor)

Born 1942 in Latvia. Studied percussion, choral and opera (pit) orchestra conducting at the Latvian Academy of Music. Hired by the Latvian National Opera (LNO) in 1962 and assumes various duties: orchestra member, prompter, choral director and assistant to conductor. Under emergency circumstances, called to conduct Verdi’s Il Trovatore (unrehearsed) in 1968; first radio and studio recordings conducted that same year.

Contracted as conductor by LNO in 1970. Initial operas: Rachmaninoff’s Aleko, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Nikolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Rubinstein’s The Demon.

From 1972-1975: successful internship at Leningrad’s Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre where conducting duties include La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin and one-act ballet programs Chopiniana and Glazunov’s The Seasons.

In 1973, called to replace colleague during LNO Ballet guest performances in Mexico City (Swan Lake and Puni-Drigo’s Notre Dame de Paris, one-act ballets).

In 1975, appointed LNO Artistic Director and Head Conductor; first productions include The Sleeping Beauty and (for the first time in USSR history) Verdi’s Macbeth. 1977: the acclaimed production of Gayane in collaboration with choreographer and ballet master Boris Eifman and composer Aram Khachaturian; filmed by Special Events Entertainment and distributed to television channels worldwide. 1980: triumphant LNO guest performances at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.

LNO Opera and Ballet company repertory includes Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, L’Elisir d’ amore, Faust, Eugene Onegin, Strauss’ Salome. Tenure at LNO (until 1987) featured a wide and varied repertory and a new generation of singers, many of whom now work in opera companies abroad.

1989 conducts Don Carlos at Leningrad’s Maly Opera and Ballet Theatre.

1990-1994: conductor at St. Petersburg’s Maryinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre where he conducts Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Delibes’ Coppelia, Borodin’s Prince Igor, as well as Othello, Aida, La Traviata and Il Trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, The Nutcracker, Giselle.

August 1991: tours Italy with Mstislav Rostropovich.

Tours France with ballet company, Italy with orchestra.

In 1994, re-appointed Head Conductor and Artistic Director at the LNO. Productions of note: la Boheme, Tosca and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.

Has toured extensively with LNO ballet and opera companies: France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, England, Holland, Belgium.

1995 in Oslo conducts Eugene Onegin and Romeo and Juliet in 1997.

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