“Pietro il Grande zar di tutte le Russie”


On April 24, the opera by Gaetano Donizetti “Pietro il Grande zar di tutte le Russie” returns to the stage of the St. Petersburg Opera Theatre. Yuri Alexandrov for the first time restores a production in the history of the theatre.
“We decided to resume Donizetti’s opera about the Russian Tsar on the eve of the celebration of the 350th anniversary of Peter the Great. It was first staged one and a half decades ago - the year of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg and it became a real sensation. Then we had to restore this work step by step, and for many years it occupied a special place in the repertoire of the theatre ... ”, says Yuri Alexandrov.
Donizetti is familiar to people who appreciate opera as the author of “Lucia di Lammermoor”, “L’elisir d’amore” and “Don Pasquale”. However, few people know that one of the first opuses of the 22-year-old Italian composer was the opera about Peter the Great, written on the plot of the play by Alexander Duvall, popular at that time. The opera “Il falegname di Livonia, o Pietro il grande, czar delle Russie” was presented at the Teatro San Samuele during the carnival days of 1819.
However, the score of the opera disappeared after a fire at the La Fenice Teatro (1823). They did not recall opera for 180 years. Yuri Alexandrov rediscovered this masterpiece to the world. The director had to conduct a real investigation in search of the missing score. The Donizetti Opera House in Bergamo, La Fenice Teatro, the Foundation and the Publishing House Dom Ricordi, which owns the right to music by the composer, as well as the Italian Consulate General in St. Petersburg, were involved.
As a result of the painstaking work of preparing the performance, which lasted several years, the fragments of the score of “Peter”, scattered throughout Italy, were able to be brought together. Thus, the musical work of the great composer was returned to the world, which for a long time was considered lost.
The sensational performance began new life of the St. Petersburg Opera. After many years of wandering, having found its home in the cozy mansion of Baron von Derviz on Galernaya Street.
The love-political intrigue of the opera, in which the Russian crowned couple is involved, does not pretend to be believable, but it gives an occasion to create a conditionally playful ironic action, saturated with unpredictable plot twists. The graceful melodic music of Donizetti and the inventive imagination of the director will easily reconcile you with the fact that stage situations have nothing to do with genuine Russian history.