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Professor Anthony Ogus rediscovers his ancestral heritage while on a visit to Lithuania, where decades of Soviet occupation and the radical changes that came in its aftermath have left an indelible mark, alongside a rich cultural legacy arising from the nation’s strategic importance in the history of Europe and the Baltics
Worth the Journey: Madama Butterfly in Vilnius

In the cold of January, I travelled 1,300 miles to Lithuania to see Anthony Minghella’s production of Madama Butterfly, which I could have seen much closer to home. Even by my standards you would have thought this crazy, but the return air fare from Leeds to Vilnius (£30.48) was at least as cheap as a rail ticket to London. More importantly, the trip enabled me to explore my roots: my grandfather Aaron was born in Vilnius and the genealogist in the family put me in touch with two Ogus (more specifically its feminine variant Ogusaite) sisters from Lithuania whose father had managed to survive the slaughter of the 1940s. It was fascinating to glean from Rima and Vida what they knew of the family history, but also to learn about the extraordinary changes to their country that resulted from the break-up of the Soviet Union.

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Christophe Rousset celebrates a quarter century at the forefront of the Early Music scene with Les Talens Lyriques; Sir John Eliot Gardiner takes Monteverdi’s three surviving operas on tour around the world; and our guide to the brightest and best opera festivals of 2017. Plus, remembering the velvet voice of Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda; individuality and imagination in the songs of Arthur Sullivan; Debussy’s ravishing Pelléas lets down its hair at Garsington; American baritone Scott Hendricks shares his love of playing bad boys; the art of the librettist; British conductor Nicholas Chalmers; and an 80th birthday tribute to Grace Bumbry.