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The Lithuanian city of Kaunas marked the start of its European Capital of Culture 2022 program on Saturday, with a performance of ‘The Confusion’, the first part of the Kaunas Contemporary Myth Trilogy.

A fusion of contemporary music, giant video projections and poetry told the story of the city as a living miracle that is constantly renewed. More than 300 musicians, dancers and poets participated in bringing the show to life outside the Zalgirio Arena.

The gigantic glass façade of the arena was used to create one of the largest projection screens in Europe, magically incorporating the singers, orchestra and poets.

The music for the show was written by the internationally renowned Lithuanian composer Antanas Jasenka and performed by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and the Vilnius Choir.

The goal of this event, unique and ambitious in idea and scope, was to engage everyone in the creative uplift of the city and use the inspiration to build a new post-pandemic future.

This year, three European cities take up the mantle of European Capital of Culture. Along with Kaunas, there is Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) and Novi Sad (Serbia).

“The Mythical Beast of Kaunas” is a project designed to create a unifying narrative for the city. It takes the form of a trilogy made up of the Confusion (January 19-23), the Confluence (May 20-22), and the Contract (November 25-27). The three main events are co-created by artists from Lithuania and abroad.

Around 40,000 spectators attended the event, despite the low temperatures.

“In Lithuania, we have a saying: ‘Kaunas is Kaunas’. Today I want to say it a little differently. Kaunas is culture, the culture of Lithuania and Europe,” said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

Dozens of festivals, exhibitions, events and concerts will take place in Kaunas over the next twelve months, as the city was designated European Capital of Culture 2022 by the European Union Commission for a period of one calendar year in light of its exceptional cultural heritage.

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