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Cavalleria rusticana, Mascagni
D: Liliana Cavani
C: Alexander Soloviev
"Honor" and memory

In the Mikhailovsky Theater on February 1, in memory of Elena Obraztsova, the opera Rural Honor was given. The main part was performed by the Lithuanian opera diva Violeta Urmana, the conductor was the Italian Daniele Rustioni. Before the performance, Obraztsova's daughter Elena Makarova addressed the audience. She stressed that the work in Mikhailovsky gave the prima donna "new opportunities and new creative joys." Recalling how important the exemplary role of Santuzza was for her performing career, she wished success to Violeta Urmana, who was to take the stage in this role: “Mom, where she is now, Violeta will hear and, I hope, will help her tonight.”

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03 February 2015mikhailovsky.ruVarvara Svintsova
Aida, Verdi
D: Maria BolshakovaIgor UshakovOlga Kokh
C: Alevtina IoffeAlexander Soloviev
Opera of great passions

The opera Aida by Verdi was staged at the Mikhailovsky Theater for the first time in its history. The director was Igor Ushakov, the musical director was debutant Alexander Vedernikov, and the title parts were performed by an international cast of soloists. "Aida" - a great opera of great passions - begins with a very quiet, timidly creeping introduction, symbolizing the emerging feeling of pure love, which will grow to a climactic wave. But this feeling cannot last forever and unclouded, and therefore very soon a wall of destructive “counterwave” rolls over it. Verdi contrasted one system of humanistic values ​​with another. On the contrasting poles set in the introduction, the dramaturgy of the opera is also built, where love and jealousy, the rigidity of an inhuman ritual and a living sense of freedom come into battle.

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13 December 2019mikhailovsky.ruVladimir Dudin
Die Zauberflöte, Mozart
D: Eric Vigié
C: Mikahail TatarnikovAlevtina IoffeAlexander Soloviev
The Magic Flute balances between eras

The Mikhailovsky Theater hosted the first premiere of the season — the opera The Magic Flute staged, set and costumed by Pet Halmen. Conductor of the Mariinsky Theater Gavriel Heine was at the podium. The performance became a joint project of the Mikhailovsky Theater and the Lausanne Opera. The director died four years ago, and the St. Petersburg production was handled by Eric Vigier, director of the Lausanne Opera. If such a performance had appeared a couple of years earlier, it might not have seemed very relevant. And today, the strict, pure, black-and-white aesthetics, in which the production, stylizing the theater of the Mozart era, is solved, has turned out to be a balm for the soul, tormented by daily reports from the battlefields or terrorist attacks.

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04 April 2016mikhailovsky.ruVladimir Dudin
The Magic Flute balances between eras

The Mikhailovsky Theater hosted the first premiere of the season — the opera The Magic Flute staged, set and costumed by Pet Halmen. Conductor of the Mariinsky Theater Gavriel Heine was at the podium. The performance became a joint project of the Mikhailovsky Theater and the Lausanne Opera. The director died four years ago, and the St. Petersburg production was handled by Eric Vigier, director of the Lausanne Opera. If such a performance had appeared a couple of years earlier, it might not have seemed very relevant. And today, the strict, pure, black-and-white aesthetics, in which the production, stylizing the theater of the Mozart era, is solved, has turned out to be a balm for the soul, tormented by daily reports from the battlefields or terrorist attacks.

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04 April 2016mikhailovsky.ruVladimir Dudin
Pikovaya Dama, Tchaikovsky, P. I.
D: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
C: Evgeny VolynskyAlexander SolovievDmitri Jurowski
Deadly pool of the game

Another premiere performance of the opera The Queen of Spades. The Game” will be held at NOVAT on November 12. In the meantime, we are reading a review of the performance on the belcanto.ru portal: “The director’s idea of ​​Vyacheslav Starodubtsev – in fact, strikingly fresh and exciting in its incarnation – following the conductor, captivated everyone: the musicians of the orchestra, the choir artists, the singer-soloists, and mimans… The whole performance is about how not to play too much in life and do not involve yourself and those to whom you are dear and who sincerely love you into a truly deadly pool. What does the queen of spades mean? According to Alexander Pushkin, who gave the answer to this question in the epigraph of his textbook story, it was secret malevolence. What does the Queen of Spades mean if you look at this card through the eyes of composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky and librettist Modest Tchaikovsky, meaning the timeless masterpiece of Russian opera of the same name, which is based on this story? Yes, the same! But if the literary source is generously imbued with mysticism and "grave cold", then "grave cold" in the opera, due to the melodrama that comes to the fore, and even when the plot is transferred to the Catherine's era, appears only as a spectacular romantic bait that creates a spectacular effect of theatrical perception . And according to the operatic canons of the 19th century, it is possible to call the plot-forming part of the Countess the main one only de jure, because de facto among the singers she has always been considered a typical age. So among directors to this day there is an inexhaustible temptation to stage Tchaikovsky's opera based on Pushkin. Whether they do it well or badly is another question, but there is a trend. The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, which adopted this name for the production in order to open the current opera season, has chosen a radically different path. This time the team of the author of the new artistic concept and stage director Vyacheslav Starodubtsev, which included stage designer Pyotr Okunev and costume designer Zhanna Usacheva, decided, literally, to play an opera. Having rethought with great reverence, but, what is extremely important, without drowning the well-known plot material in the novelty of the concept, the named production triumvirate did everything extremely elegantly and aesthetically beautiful. It is clear that the proposed Game - the capital letter here is not accidental - can only be a card game, but by assigning the suits to its participants, the director decides to do something incredible. He now associates the Pushkin Countess not with the black lady of spades, but with the lady of hearts, the bearer of the red “heart” suit (“heart” means love). And what does the queen of hearts mean in this case? Perhaps, nevertheless, not obvious benevolence, but a warning in manipulating the feeling of love, in which Herman seems to have thoroughly played. And then the whole performance is about how not to play too much in life and not to involve yourself and those to whom you are dear and who sincerely love you into a truly deadly pool. The very idea of ​​this approach is insanely interesting, and such an intellectual musician as Dmitry Yurovsky, the chief conductor of the theater and musical director of the production, certainly could not help but be carried away by it. Expressing his vision on the pages of a stunningly published "card-game" booklet of the performance, the maestro seems to set the musical program. In his opinion, the whole tragedy of the events on the stage, which the new production is intended to convey to the public, “is not at all in the loss of the Game, especially since losing to the brilliant music of Tchaikovsky is not so scary, but in the fact that the Game, as a kind of virus, potentially is a part of each of us and, if no other values ​​​​are found in life, it can at any moment crowd out such subtle feelings as love and devotion, and destroy a person from the inside to the very foundation. The director's idea of ​​Vyacheslav Starodubtsev, which only at first glance seems unoriginal, but in fact is strikingly fresh and exciting in its incarnation, following the conductor, captivated everyone: the musicians of the orchestra, and the choir artists (choirmaster - Vyacheslav Podielsky), and singer-soloists, and mimans. And the performance from an imaginary deck of cards of all its components clearly develops into a real solitaire mise-en-scène and music. Giving the project a detailed and concretizing name “The Queen of Spades. Game”, the directors immediately designate the theatrical and aesthetic field of the card “battle”, stylized as an Italian folk theater of masks (commedia dell'arte). Not only the Countess - all the characters in the opera (each soloist, choir artist or mimams) now have their own alter ego from the deck of cards, their own suit and dignity. Everyone, except for the protagonist of the opera Herman, who has a special status in the performance. “He has neither a serial number, nor a suit,” the director develops the idea. – Tchaikovsky's music made Herman more of a Dostoyevsky hero than a Pushkin. It seemed right to me to contrast him, an ordinary person without a gaming status, with the rest of the world of excitement. And this is a very important starting point of the performance, its center, around which the whole Game, in fact, is built. First, the player is in the shower, in the deadly whirlpool of the Game in the finale of the production, Herman is already clearly and consciously drawn in. The performance is dedicated to the memory of Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874–1940), whose 1935 production of The Queen of Spades in Leningrad at the Maly Opera Theater (now the Mikhailovsky Theater) has long since passed into the category of theatrical legends of the 20th century. Meyerhold tried to bring Tchaikovsky's opera as close as possible to Pushkin's story, but he did not think of the Countess as a decrepit old woman. Along with this, visually abstracting from both the story and the opera, the fresh Novosibirsk production, with its compactness and concentration of drama in the development of intrigue, surprisingly refracts both in itself. Even though it crops repetitions in choirs and ensembles, a number of scenes in the explication, an interlude-pastoral, a fragment of the finale of the scene in the Countess's bedroom, and painlessly omitted the parts of two players (Chaplitsky and Narumov), the two-act format of the new performance clearly reveals the integrity of the visible musical and acting images and the entire "opera symphony". According to Vyacheslav Starodubtsev, it is necessary to take into account the rules of the Game, which are dictated by the very scale of the grandiose hall of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, so the dedication of this "opera symphony" to Meyerhold's memory is not at all accidental. “We are working hard on effective acting intonation,” says the director, “but we cannot be guided only by the methods of psychological theater. They are sometimes imperceptible already in the front row, not to mention the amphitheater and the tier, and here the biomechanics of Meyerhold comes to the rescue, who was fond of the Italian folk theater, where the expressiveness of body movement, posture and gesture plays an important role. So, in the center of the new play's Card Game is the bioenergetics of the life of the characters-cards themselves, and the meticulously calculated hierarchy of actor-plastic images is precisely formed into musical solitaire figurations of mise-en-scène-symbols. Not seeing the entourage of Petersburg itself in this “Petersburg” opera by Tchaikovsky, we seem to see and hear everything in it - Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, and Petersburg of those historical eras, the atmosphere of which is recreated in the opuses of Russian geniuses of different genres. As you know, Tchaikovsky, seized by a burst of inspiration, wrote his opera in record speed in Florence, so that the idea of ​​​​an Italian comedy of masks, on which the current production is based, unexpectedly gives a special aesthetic charm. The space of the solitaire performance is created by two different-sized projection screens. Asymmetrically located, they change the configuration of the angles of perception along the way quite easily and seem to breathe with what is happening on the stage.

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03 November 2016novat.nsk.ruIgor Koryabin,belcanto.ru
Open spaces and sweeping gestures

About the premiere of the play “The Queen of Spades. Game” on the portal Sibkray.ru writes Yana Glembotskaya, rector of the Novosibirsk State Theater Institute. In the play, which is close in its aesthetics to the Meyerhold theater, spectacular mise-en-scenes remind us "that our life is nothing more than a card game on the card-table of fortune." The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, making the high open, presented to the public the premiere performance to the music of Tchaikovsky "The Queen of Spades" in the original interpretation of the director Vyacheslav Starodubtsev. There are two words on the playbill that you should pay attention to before buying tickets. Firstly, the performance is called “The Queen of Spades. A game". Secondly, the production is dedicated to Vsevolod Meyerhold. At the premiere on October 14, it became clear what is the meaning of the director's artistic concept, and here I will try to reconstruct the idea from the stage text. The Queen of Spades, one of the greatest Russian operas, is, oddly enough, famous for Tchaikovsky's initial reluctance to write it. He considered Pushkin's story unsuitable to become the basis of an opera libretto. The director of the imperial theaters, Ivan Alexandrovich Vsevolozhsky, somehow managed to achieve the realization of his plan. And here is the time to take off your hat to the producer, to pay tribute to his perseverance and insight. Vsevolozhsky toyed with his idea, turned to different authors, until, finally, Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky rewrote the story, boldly turning Pushkin's anecdote into a melodrama. If not for these circumstances, the opera would not have been written, and the program “What, where, when?” her memorable musical intro, known to all the inhabitants of Russia from Moscow to the outskirts. “What is our life? A game!" (the third act, the seventh picture, the beginning of Herman's aria) exclaimed the latent gamer Herman, but Vsevolod Meyerhold could have said the same! He considered theatrical art, first of all, a game. It is precisely from the fundamental principle of the game that the principles of the theater of performance flow, no less influential than the method of the Russian psychological school of experience, better known as the Stanislavsky system. Let me remind you that after the defeat of the Meyerhold Theater, Stanislavsky invited Meyerhold to work in the opera studio at the Bolshoi Theater. The great Stanislavsky showed courage and nobility, rare for those times, not being afraid to cooperate with the disgraced director. Vsevolod Meyerhold even directed the opera studio, for a very short time, after the death of Konstantin Sergeevich in 1939 and until his arrest. All these circumstances arouse particular interest in staging The Queen of Spades in a different aesthetic, polemically directed against classical interpretations. By the way, the nickname of the Novosibirsk Opera House "Siberian Colosseum" perfectly matches the spirit of Meyerhold's theater, because he needed large open spaces, large gestures and a wide pattern of the grotesque, more characteristic of mass spectacles, including the circus. Meyerhold believed that the director can do whatever he wants with the play, because he is not engaged in staging the play, but creates a fundamentally different, completely new work. What is true of the play is also true of the opera. Therefore, it is interesting to understand what signs of the Meyerhold theater we see on the stage of our renewed NOVAT. First, the ultimate conventionality of space: the scene of action is indicated by projections onto two huge planes that can move relative to each other. This decision allows you to literally drive the hero into a corner in the most dramatic scenes. The costumes of the heroes are also designed so that there is no doubt - all the characters, including the choir, are just cards from the deck, queens, jacks, kings, and less significant characters from six to ten. The ties are reminiscent of the designations of card suits, and on the back of the choir artists are drawn the familiar card shirts. Such "formalism" in the design provides opportunities for spectacular mise-en-scenes: the wall of choristers, turning its back, reminds us that our life is nothing more than a card game on the card-table of fortune. It cannot be said that all the elements of the costume were interpreted. So, for example, Herman, taking off his overcoat, discovers under it a structure of unclear purpose, which can be described as straps from an invisible parachute or an intricate harness, also reminiscent of the belt of the musketeer Porthos. Of course, the imposing figure of Oleg Wiedemann, singing the part of Herman, prompts thoughts about Porthos. Be that as it may, we understand that Herman is different from the rest of the heroes. The costume of Catherine the Great also inspires respect with an immense skirt on an exaggerated crinoline. All this richly costumed beauty provides food not only for the eyes, but also for the mind. At the same time, you still need to have time to read the subtitles that run over the stage, because they contain remarks, original instructions for interpreting what is happening. On the one hand, it's convenient. This saves the audience from having to memorize the libretto or refer to the program before the start of each act. Usually, operas in a foreign language are accompanied by subtitles, but here the action is translated from the conventionally theatrical language into everyday Russian. The director changed some moments of the plot in order to rid the story of melodrama, which hinders the convincing embodiment of the director's concept. For example, Lisa is known to have to drown by throwing herself into the Winter Canal. There is none of this - no forged fence, no Moika, no Neva, which is supposed to be seen in the gap of a powerful arch thrown over a groove and connecting the Hermitage Palace and the Great Hermitage. Remarque succinctly informs us that "Liza is dying." This, of course, is less spectacular than drowning in the cold water of the Moika, but it is more in line with the general style of the performance.

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06 November 2016novat.nsk.ruYana Glembotskaya, Sibkrai.ru
Oprichnik, Tchaikovsky, P. I.
D: Sergej Novikov
C: Alexander Soloviev
Following the will of a genius

The performance of the Mikhailovsky Theater "Oprichnik" is one of the main opera premieres of this year. On September 29, it was shown for the first time on the Moscow stage. Theatre. Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko gathered many connoisseurs of high art that day. I must say right away that staging this opera by Tchaikovsky is a seductive desire, but very difficult to perform. The composer himself reworked it more than once and obviously left some hints that another interpretation, not quite spelled out in the score, preserved only in his notes, and editing is also possible. The director of the play, Sergei Novikov, and conductor Alexander Solovyov, while working on the modern version of Oprichnik, were obliged to penetrate into the not quite completed plan of Pyotr Ilyich and, as noted by many critics, they did it with the highest reliability. “It is still preserved in the Mariinsky Theater, and in the museum in Klin I managed to see a photocopy of it: the composer mercilessly, right on 5-10-15 pages in a row, crossed out, removed repetitions and lengths,” Sergey Novikov said in an interview with Fontanka.ru » about the manuscript of the opera. Frankly, I'm surprised why "Oprichnik" had not been staged before, as it happened now. Apparently, everything has its time. The creators of the performance not only presented the audience with a magnificent spectacle, but also returned to us a sense of the authenticity of Russian opera, created a fascinating canvas from a very conservative material, where you wait for the denouement with no less attention than in action-packed prose or cinema. From the first minutes it is clear that in this performance there is a magnificent ensemble on the stage, built harmoniously, but at the same time nervously, with constant overtones, with an abundance of plans and the maximum departure from conventions to live dramaturgy. In addition to the work of Novikov and Solovyov, the scenography of Alexander Kupalyan should be noted. In opera performances, the goal is often to show the stars, here the stars are all, it is impossible to single out anyone in particular. I remember how Evgeny Svetlanov once said that if scenery or some performer is singled out in a performance, this is an alarming signal to the whole performance. In Oprichnik, everything is subordinated to one thing - to bring to the utmost concentration the author's intention of the genius Tchaikovsky, the author of the music and the libretto of the opera, which is based on the work of Ivan Lazhechnikov. The performance from the first scene wisely leads the reader from peak to peak, from find to find, from climax to climax. In the first scenes, I was struck by the move with the video projection. This is not just a trick, it is not intrusive, but very effective in giving credibility to what is happening. The performance immediately passes from the limited space of the stage into the Moscow architectural landscapes of that era, air and freshness instantly burst into the texture of the direction. I looked at it spellbound, and when the birds flew across the sky, the effect of being transferred to the living surroundings of the Russian Middle Ages reached its maximum. The part of Basmanov is given to the countertenor (notable work by Vadim Volkov). And here the reception worked perfectly. The image turns out to be ominous and very ambiguous: a reveler, a friend of the king, a guardsman, and the voice is almost female. It seems to me that the idea is subtly carried out here that in all impunity and violence there is something perverted, weak and unnatural. The first act is crowned by the scene of the oath of Andrey Morozov, who compromises with evil for the sake of revenge on Prince Zhemchuzhny, his enemy and the enemy of their family. There are a lot of people on the stage, and not a single person is accidental, everyone moves as they would in real life. The orchestra and choir are superbly woven into the metaphorical theatrical language, where many of the actors' movements do not show the action, but symbolize one or another image in the most complex range of the hero's feelings. It can be seen that the director knows the vocabulary of those times, all the words of the opera are perfectly supported by the gestures and poses of the characters. The brilliant stage confrontation of the characters emphasizes the enormous vocal abilities of Sergei Kuzmin (Andrey Morozov) and Alexei Tikhomirov (the leader of the guardsmen, Prince Vyazminsky). The story of Morozov's fall in this scene is almost Faustian, but the image of the future guardsman is still attractive in his throwings, especially in the first half of the episode crowning the first act. However, a wormhole is expanding in it, the beginning of the path to moral collapse, encrypted by Tchaikovsky in the harsh rhythm of this scene, in the obvious alternation of simple harmonies, in the predominance of distinctly minor chord combinations, amazingly orchestrated. When, at the very climax, a teenager appears on some kind of torture board, the frost goes through the skin. I realized that this is a hint that the best, the purest, is being killed in Andrey. The new Andrey Morozov, the future oprichnik, kills the old one in himself - an honest hot young man. wonderfully orchestrated. When, at the very climax, a teenager appears on some kind of torture board, the frost goes through the skin. I realized that this is a hint that the best, the purest, is being killed in Andrey. The new Andrey Morozov, the future oprichnik, kills the old one in himself - an honest hot young man. wonderfully orchestrated. When, at the very climax, a teenager appears on some kind of torture board, the frost goes through the skin. I realized that this is a hint that the best, the purest, is being killed in Andrey. The new Andrey Morozov, the future oprichnik, kills the old one in himself - an honest hot young man. The second act is a kind of mirror of the first. Andrey Morozov looks at him, but sees himself as different, the audience looks at him and thinks not only about the plot of the opera (the authors of the performance managed to reveal the twisted intrigue of this opera, where Morozov falls into the trap of Vyazminsky, a longtime enemy of the Morozov family), but also about its moral - the moral component. What is important here is Andrei's Pyrrhic victory over the enemy of their family, Zhemchuzhny, who not only offended Andrei Morozov's father, but also opposes his marriage to his daughter (both female parts, Boyarina Morozova and Zhemchuzhny's daughter Natalya, sound absolutely fantastic performed by Ekaterina Egorova and Valentina Fedeneva ). Its meaning is revealed subtly, not in the forehead, but with all moral certainty. Betrayal, alliance with evil are irrevocable. The final scene of the wedding is staged so multi-dimensionally, with such a variety of counterpoints, that the impending drama and the execution of Andrei are keenly felt behind the holiday. This effect is created by highlighting one or another place on the stage, which logically leads to the execution scene, which was decided not as a dramatic death of a person, but as his fall. Andrey really falls on the stage from a high place to the ground. Like hell. The scenery in this regard is built very ingeniously. And even the artist of mimams in the role of Ivan the Terrible, with his short movement around the stage, creates the entourage that is necessary for the correct positioning of the finale. Watching Alexander Solovyov at the conductor's stand is a pleasure. As a graduate of the conducting choir faculty, I was happy to note that in his technique there is not an ounce of work for the public, only a strict horizontal idea. It was this horizontal that Novikov and Solovyov pulled out of Oprichnik. I'm sure this is what Tchaikovsky wanted when he edited this score until his death. Movement, constant movement of all layers. The performance is very beautiful. Scenery, costumes, projections are made with excellent taste. Bright, varied, nothing weighting, nothing superfluous. Sergei Novikov noted in an interview that the main task of art is moral. Well, this performance managed to solve these problems without being too didactic and edifying. I am sure that this production will be loved by listeners of all ages for a long time and will pave the way to Oprichnik for those who have hitherto not appreciated this opera enough.

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06 October 2021mikhailovsky.ruMaxim Zamshev, Literaturnaya Gazeta
Oprichnina visiting the Zemstvo

The Mikhailovsky Theater from St. Petersburg showed on the stage of the Musical Theater named after Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko its latest opera premiere - the rare "Oprichnik" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. While the 6th festival of musical theaters of Russia "See the Music" is in full swing in Moscow and the capital is literally "choking" from regional productions - operas, ballets, operettas, musicals and other multi-genre novelties - one-day non-festival tour. The Mikhailovsky Theater does not take part in Seeing the Music, as well as in its antipode, The Golden Mask: Vladimir Kekhman prefers to go his own way, not getting involved in the capital's festival games. Nevertheless, the novelty of opera - a genre that he generally does not really like, clearly preferring ballet to him on both stages entrusted to him (both in the Mikhailovsky and in the Novosibirsk theaters) - he dared to show in Moscow, where the Mikhailovsky Theater did not bring anything already long enough. I think it played an important role in this The historical drama about the atrocities of Ivan the Terrible's oprichnina was called upon to make an official from the presidential administration: the move is truly either Aesopian or Mephistopheles. Sergey Novikov is a high-ranking state administrator who "dabbles" from time to time in opera directing: he has more than one production in reputable theaters to his credit. Unlike his previous experiments with Oprichnik, he decided to do it traditionally - without incrementing meanings, reversing the plot and motivations of characters, without transferring in time and other dubious "virtues". Thus, of course, stepping into risky territory: after all, staging a performance without shocking frills, traditionally, but interestingly, is a daunting task. Here it is necessary to show imagination, and work with the actor, and not fall into bad taste. To the best of his talent, Novikov seems to have done everything he could: the scene of the oprichnik's oath, worked out sharply and musically, and the finale - a tragic denouement at a wedding feast with a mimic bloodthirsty king wandering among the guests, like a gilded (due to brocade vestments) like a tarantula, or a scorpion, were especially successful. The first pictures were less successful - static and boring, which the director tried to diversify with a very stilted animation and inept wiring. The realistic scenography of Alexander Kupalyan also turned out to be a problem. Called to strike the imagination of the public with its richness, scope and realism in the style of Fedorovsky's socialist realism, it unexpectedly revealed a situation of stylistic disharmony. Luxurious historical costumes, a variety of props that convey the spirit of the era, and the decorations of old Russian interiors sometimes came into visual conflict with video art, which has replaced large-scale painted backdrops and curtains in our time. The falsity was especially felt at first - later, when other merits became clear in the performance, primarily musical, this awkwardness faded into the background and was practically forgotten by the end of the evening. Finding them in Oprichnik is not at all an easy task. The third opera of the great Russian classic is considered unsuccessful, and theaters rarely resort to it: despite this, the second St. Petersburg Opera House tried to protest the “verdict of history”. The rare opera by the most popular Russian composer is not only a rare guest on the theater stage - a performance based on it, as a rule, is also not long-lived. The problem is not only that it is not staged often: after the premiere screenings, where the halls are filled with music lovers and opera fans, each time the performance is harder and harder to sell. I remember the half-empty Bolshoi Theater in the 1999-2000 season, when, after the spring premiere, Oprichnik was not seen in autumn and winter, and very soon it fell out of the repertoire again. The situation is not much better with the Mariinsky version of the 2015 model, What is wrong with this opera? Indeed, at the Bolshoi there was a luxurious historical performance by Irina Molostova - in fur coats and kokoshniks, as the majority of the public loves, and they sang very loudly; and at the Mariinsky Theater they staged a completely modern dynamic performance in the style of a musical show, in which the vocal work was also generally successful. In fact, Oprichnik has enough problems. This is also a verbose libretto by the composer himself with far-fetched dramaturgy and often strained dramatic provisions. And the inconsistency of the lyrical and pathetic nature of Tchaikovsky's talent with the framework of the folk-everyday historical drama: in this field the composer tried more than once to compete with the representatives of the "Mighty Handful" (primarily Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov) and every time (in addition to "Oprichnik" - also in "Voevoda" and "Enchantress") lost. These are direct borrowings of music from another opus - from the first operatic experience of Pyotr Ilyich, from Voyevoda, which he did not like and was burned in a fit of perfectionism. However, Ostrovsky's play and Lazhechnikov's tragedy, the literary foundations of Voyevoda and Oprichnik, are completely different works in terms of passions, Of course, the general public does not know all these nuances, but they feel in their gut that the opera is far from perfect - and quickly loses interest in composing, especially since the title itself is not well known. Therefore, having decided to turn, despite all the "buts", again to this opera, in Mikhailovsky they began with the main thing - with the musical version. Maestro Alexander Solovyov, the recently appointed new chief conductor of the theatre, greatly reduced the score, removing all redundant repetitions and dramaturgically rethinking some fragments. For example, the second act of the performance opens with a symphonic intermission, which was made from dance music "a la russe". And, we must give him his due, the renovation was carried out not only professionally, but masterfully, and perhaps even talentedly - the score was given dynamism and greater logic and persuasiveness, it began to play with colors in a new way. He coped with it and at the level of practice. The orchestra added with each picture - but not in sonority, which could only drown out the singing, but in an emotional message, playing captivatingly, brightly, expressively. Already in the third scene, where the protagonist of the opera Andrei Morozov, against the will of his mother-boyar, joins the ranks of the guardsmen and pronounces his terrible oath, Solovyov managed to achieve a great intensity of expressiveness. The conductor put a lot of effort into emphasizing the incredible lyrical expressiveness of the unique melody of Pyotr Ilyich, highlighting the depth of his dramatic pathos, which Tchaikovsky possessed like no other. For some, this may be a surprise, but not for the author of these lines. I remember well how in 2013 Alexander Solovyov, without exaggeration, saved the premiere of Der Rosenkavalier at the Bolshoi, literally picking up the conductor's baton falling out of the hands of Vasily Sinaisky and brilliantly conducting an important Moscow inauguration - Strauss's luxurious opera was then staged for the first time in Moscow. And each subsequent meeting with the maestro confirmed that the conductor is worthwhile: knowledgeable, able and not mediocre. It remains only to congratulate the Mikhailovsky Theater on such an acquisition. Solovyov also worked with the vocalists to fame. The incredible clarity of diction, when every word is understood without any interlinear, is a rare occurrence in opera. An excellent balance was built between the stage and the pit: without sacrificing orchestral colors, the maestro never drowned out a single singer, no one forced or strained, although almost all the parts in this opera are sharply dramatic and very strong voices are needed here. Soprano Valentina Fedenyova (Natalya) delighted with the beauty of timbre and lyrical sincerity, whose singing can satisfy the most demanding tastes today. Mezzo Ekaterina Yegorova managed to create a weighty and large-scale image - her noblewoman Morozova is probably the most important character in the oprichnina drama. On the whole, Aleksei Tikhomirov (Vyazminsky), the Helikon bass, convinced me, although his voice cannot be called ideal for Russian opera. The titular hero Andrey Morozov performed by Sergey Kuzmin delighted with confident valiant tops and correctly found intonation. Only the gender concession in the part of Basmanov did not seem appropriate enough: they preferred to take the role of the young boyar countertenor Vadim Volkov, whose harsh soprano sound distorted the character of his hero, In a word, Mikhailov's premiere convinced me first of all by its musical solution - there was a breath of good old opera, where the drama was done mainly in singing and orchestra, where the primacy of the sound over everything else was unconditional. Everything else did not spoil the dinner.

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08 October 2021mikhailovsky.ruAlexander Matusevich, Nezavisimaya Gazeta

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