The author of the famous Rusalka at the beginning of his career dreamed about creating great romantic opera.
“In our performance, we fully preserve the historicism of the work of Dargomyzhsky. We do not deprive the production of fascinating harsh poetry of the medieval world, however, the problems of the main characters will be familiar and understandable to a person of the twenty-first century, because they are eternal. This is a bright love, uniting two people from different social classes (a young captain Phoebus and a gypsy girl Esmeralda), and a destructive passion burning from the inside that turned Frollo into a demon... Over the centuries, a lot has changed, but both then and now, extraordinary feelings and passions are born in a ruthless society, condemning any sincere manifestations that leads to tragedy. The ending of the play is obvious. A beautiful cathedral perishes, and with it everything burns down in a fire: wonderful people, their hopes, love, passion and pain,” Yuri Alexandrov says.
Among the crowd wanders the archdeacon of Notre-Dame Cathedral Claude Frollo. He is possessed by demons. His heart is devoured by a passion for the young gypsy Esmeralda, who often dances and sings in the square in front of the cathedral. Suddenly, a procession appears on the square, the people celebrate the festival of jesters. Quasimodo, the bell ringer of Notre-Dame, is elected King for his ugliness. Seeing Quasimodo at the head of the procession, Claude Frollo rips off his clown crown and beats him. The people in fierceness want to attack the monk, but the old gypsy witch pacifies the angry crowd. Everyone disperses. Left alone with the old woman, the holy father tells her to watch out for Esmeralda, who lives in her house. Fatal passion drove him to madness... Together with Quasimodo, he decides to kidnap Esmeralda.
It is getting dark. The time for the night watch is coming. As soon as the soldiers’ footsteps subside in the distance, Claude Frollo and Quasimodo attack Esmeralda, but the abduction fails. To the desperate screams of the girl, the patrol, led by a brilliant captain, whose name is Phoebus de Chateaupers, returns. Frollo runs away cowardly. Quasimodo is arrested by the soldiers.
Fascinated by the noble handsome Phoebus, Esmeralda receives from him a scarf as a keepsake ... and with a dexterous movement steals his wallet.
The people crowd around the place of execution. Quasimodo is in pain. He asks for water, but everyone makes fun of him. Esmeralda, having snatched the jug from the hands of the executioner, gives the unfortunate man a drink. Quasimodo renounces Claude Frollo, who betrayed him. He vows to serve only Esmeralda for the rest of his life.
In the house of Fleur-de-Lys, the bride of Phoebus, guests have gathered. Seeing Esmeralda in the crowd, Phoebus’s friend Marquis de Chevreuse draws his attention to the beautiful gypsy woman. Admiring the girl’s beauty, he jokingly asks if they saved her that night. Phoebus is embarrassed ... Fleur is overcome with jealousy. She asks to call Esmeralda into the house, she wants to take a closer look at her rival. Seeing the same scarf on the gypsy that she gave to the groom, Fleur-de-Lys goes crazy. She orders the thief to leave the house. Phoebus takes Esmeralda under his protection.
Tavern. Phoebus and his friends are feasting. The captain is going on a date with Esmeralda. When his friends go on patrol, the figure of Claude Frollo suddenly rises in front of Phoebus. He demands that Phoebus give up his love for the gypsy. Claude warns Phoebus that if he goes on a fatal date, he will find death, not love. Phoebus is scared ... Overcoming a momentary weakness, he decisively declares that he will not give up Esmeralda to anyone. Phoebus leaves, Claude follows him in impotent rage.
Dwelling of an old gypsy woman. Hired killers at the ready... Claude Frollo spies on the lovers. Esmeralda, for the first time in her life, experiences love and with all the strength of youthful passion surrenders to her feeling. Claude’s rage grows with every second. In a fit of jealousy, unable to see the happy lovers in each other's arms, he rushes to Phoebus and stabs him to death. Then quickly disappears into the darkness.
Dungeon. Maddened by suffering, Esmeralda longs for death. Claude Frollo appears in the prison cell. He tries to take possession of Esmeralda, convincing her that if she answers his feelings, he will save her from death. The gypsy, recognizing the killer, repels the madman with curses. This does not stop the unfortunate lover's criminal passion. Unable to control himself, Frollo tries to take Esmeralda by force... The gypsy falls unconscious.
Esmeralda’s execution. The crowd surrounds the girl sentenced to death. Her youth and beauty touch many people in the crowd. Claude Frollo offers her salvation for the last time, but Esmeralda rejects him with contempt. Better death than the love of a criminal. Quasimodo, disguised as an executioner, tries to save his beloved, but Frollo does not give up. He claims that Esmeralda is a witch and must die. Suddenly, a mortally wounded Phoebus appears. He calls the name of his real killer. Frollo realizes that it is all over ... and dies torn to pieces by the crowd. The dying Phoebus says goodbye to Esmeralda. Esmeralda follows her lover. Against the background of the burning cathedral, Quasimodo is crying...
A significant place in the repertoire of the St. Petersburg Opera is taken by the cycle called “Operetta in the Opera House”.
The famous legend of Tristan and Isolde is elegantly played in the libretto.
The performance by Yuri Alexandrov gives the audience a new look at the familiar plot of the most popular Russian opera.