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Rites of Spring: Tcherniakov embraces Rimsky-Korsakov's hymn to nature at the Bastille

Aida Garifullina, making her Opéra de Paris debut, scored a notable triumph as Snegurochka, her limpid, bell-like soprano crystal clear, her acting thoroughly moving as the girl struggling to comprehend human love. She sculpted phrases of cool marble and – dare one say it – melted hearts. Martina Serafin's powerful soprano provided a weighty foil to Garifullina as Kupava, the would-be bride abandoned by wealthy merchant Mizgir as soon as he claps eyes on Snegurochka. Elena Manistina's sturdy mezzo had real authority in her woodland scene, while Maxim Paster (replacing Ramón Vargas at pretty short notice) sang plangently in the high tessitura demanded of Tsar Berendey. Having Franz Hawlata as Berendey's boyar was luxury casting.The chorus did a convincing impression as a Russian choir, providing plenty of bass weight and depth. Mikhail Tatarnikov conducted a magnificent account of Rimsky's dazzling score, the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris responding with character and colour.The Tsar's Bride and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, this production proves Tcherniakov is today's greatest champion of Rimsky-Korsakov's operas.

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16 April 2017bachtrack.comMark Pullinger

Seasons (1974/75 - 2023/24)

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