Of the International Virgilijus Noreika Competition for Singers 2017
Chairperson – Lilian Sukis (Germany)
Was born in Lithuania. After the premature death of her father she fled with her mother to Germany near the end of World War II and settled some years later in Canada.
As well as German and French literature, Lilian Sukis studied piano for 10 years, receiving the concert pianist diploma from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto, where she also completed the voice class of the famous singer Irene Jessner with the highest marks. Her debut, singing the role of countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in Stratford, was so successful that she was offered a contract by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. After two years there she already was singing major roles of her voice category, such as Violetta, Nedda, Pamina, Micäela and Euridice. In 1969 Dr. Günter Rennert, artistic director of the Bavarian State Opera, engaged her for a Cos`ı fan tutte premiere at the Munich opera festival. Since then, Lilian Sukis has been repeatedly engaged by the Bavarian State Opera. In February 1981 the Bavarian Minister of Culture bestowed on her the title Kammersängerin.
The breakthrough to the international singer elite came in 1972 with the world premiere of the opera Sim Tjong by the renowned Korean composer Isang Yun, which had been commissioned for the opening of the Munich opera festival in connection with the Olympics held that summer in Munich. Lilian Sukis sang the title role and enchanted both audience and critics with extraordinary voice quality and unusually strong acting. Since then she has made a name for herself above all as interpreter of lyrical roles in Mozart and Richard Strauss, has appeared in numerous cities both in Germany and worldwide. Among the highlights were performances of Mozart’s Cos`ı fan tutte and Le Nozze di Figaro under Karl Böhm at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in London and at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, as well as a premiere of Daphne under Wolfgang Sawallisch in Munich.
As oratorio singer, Lilian Sukis distinguished herself above all in performances under Karl Richter. He had engaged her also for the Japan tour of the Munich Bach chorus and orchestra in May 1981, which he did not live to see through.
With particular devotion Lilian Sukis has cultivated the art of singing. Critics have praised her diction and secure feeling for style, the warm lyrical timbre of her voice that even in high notes never sounds shrill, her restrained emotional interpretation capable, however, of dramatic gesture as well.
In 1985 Lilian Sukis was named professor of singing at the Academy of Music in Graz, and afterwards in 1995 professor of singing at the Academy of Music Mozarteum in Salzburg (reorganized in 1998 as Mozarteum University Salzburg). She has given a number of master classes, including at Toronto, at Utah State University, at Mozarteum International Summer Academy annually from 1997 to 2007, and at Schloss Laubach (Germany) 2006 to 2008.
Lilian Sukis has been many times on juries of renowned international singing competitions: among others, Pfitzner Competition, Belvedere, Ferrucio Tagliavini, Jugend Musiziert, Gradus ad Parnasum, and International Mozart Competition in Salzburg.
In Lithuania, Lilian Sukis gave concerts in 1989 and 1990, held master classes 1991 in Palanga und 1992 to 1994 in Nida. She was chair of the jury at the International Chamber Singers
Competition Beatričė 2011 in Vilnius and member of the jury at the Mykolas Kleopas Oginskis Festival-Competition 2015 in Rietavas.