The St. Petersburg Opera comes back from the tour in Moscow
The tour of the St. Petersburg Opera Theatre at the Fifth All-Russian Festival "See Music" has ended. On the stage of the Moscow Theatre "Helikon-Opera" two unique performances were presented: on October 27 - "Esmeralda" by A. Dargomyzhsky, on October 28 - "Peter the Great, or The Incredible Adventures of the Russian Tsar" by G. Donizetti staged by People's Artist of Russia Yuri Alexandrov.
“We, Leningraders, are used to living in a siege and have now decided to break through it,” said Yuri Alexandrov, artistic director of the theatre and stage director of both performances. Indeed, the arrival of the troupe from the city on the Neva hung in the balance until the very last hours. Other theatres from Ufa, Samara, Ivanovo, Petrozavodsk, Saratov had to cancel their shows in Moscow and switched to the rather annoying online format. Therefore, special thanks go to the Presidential Grants Fund, which supported the festival and made it possible for the artists and the public to meet in person.
“Esmeralda” looks forward to the future of the opera genre. Young Dargomyzhsky foresaw both Gounod's “Faust” with a church organ and the theme of salvation, and Bizet's “Carmen” - another love story of a gypsy woman and a soldier, and somewhere far away - Puccini's “Tosca” with imprisonment and the brutality of the authorities.
“The light orchestral fabric, continuing the principles of Glinka, was conveyed by the orchestra under the direction of Maxim Valkov almost without flaws. Additional sound effects added color...”, writes Mikhail Krivitsky in a review published by the “Musical Life” edition.
“Glamorous costumes against the background of dark Gothic decorations look especially impressive - to match the beauty of the score. Alexandrov creates an exciting historical performance, making it clear that traditional reading can be fascinating and interesting if it is done with talent and vividness, and the connection with modernity is obtained by itself. The final grandiose cathedral fire, in which both villains and righteous people perish, looks like a repetition last year's TV news about the biggest cultural catastrophe of our days ... ”, - writes Alexander Matusevich in a review for the publication “We Play from the Beginning”.
The St. Petersburg Opera brought to Moscow two performances that were contrasting in theme and direction, and it is a pity that due to the pandemic and the checkerboard seating, few spectators saw these forgotten masterpieces. The director himself lamented that in the hall “living people are interspersed with cardboard dummies” (as in “Helikon” they mark places vacant due to social distance). But the plans of the theatre to continue acquainting the audience with rare pages of the opera book, regardless of any obstacles,” concludes Mikhail Krivitsky.
"Peter the Great, or the Incredible Adventures of the Russian Tsar" is Donizetti's seventh opera, a work with an unusual fate. The comic opus was written by the 22-year-old composer in 1819, and the world premiere took place in the same year at the Teatro San Semuel in Venice. It could have had a long stage history, but disappeared shortly after the premiere due to a fire at the Teatro La Fenice (1823). This masterpiece was forgotten for 180 years. Yuri Alexandrov rediscovered this lost masterpiece to the world. The play was staged for the first time a decade and a half ago - in the year of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg and became a real sensation. An extremely confusing melodrama about the Russian emperor (the libretto is based on the play by A. Duval) turned into a breathtaking sparkling performance, staged by Yuri Alexandrov, in one breath. This unique rarity was shown for the first time in Moscow.
A great admirer of the music of the great Italian Gaetano Donizetti, the St. Petersburg director Yuri Alexandrov staged seven of his operas on Russian and foreign stages. He was the first to show Donizetti's operas "Il campanello" and "Rita" in Russia.
"This composer is very close to me in human qualities. I am also a workaholic, I love humor, and for him humor was the basis of life," said director Yuri Alexandrov.
17 years ago, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his native Petersburg, Yuri Alexandrov staged the opera "Peter the Great or the Incredible Adventures of the Russian Tsar”. He became the only Russian director to show Donizetti's masterpiece.
The composer wrote the piece at the age of 22. After a fire in the Italian theatre La Finice, the opera score disappeared. In search of notes, the director conducted a real detective investigation - he collected it in fragments for three years.
"In bits and pieces, we found it with an Italian professor in Bergamo, in the Donizetti foundation, in the Ricordi publishing house, which has the rights to Donizetti's music, and, finally, where the premiere took place - in Venice, at the Teatro La Finice," said Yuri Alexandrov.
The opera was written in 1819. The action takes place in a Livonian town on the Baltic coast, recently recaptured by Peter the Great from Sweden, where the emperor and his wife Catherine go in search of her brother. The whole story of the Italian composer is fiction. But it allows you to take a fresh look at historical characters.
"Her soulfulness here is manifested not only in relation to Peter, to her brother. I will not anticipate. She worries about everyone. She is very sincere, very kind," said Larisa Pominova, the soloist of the St. Petersburg Opera in the role of Catherine, "- from the plot of the channel “Russia K".