PRIZE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ST. PETERSBURG
The St. Petersburg Opera was awarded the St. Petersburg Government Prize in the field of culture and art for staging the opera "Esmeralda" by A. Dargomyzhsky. Among the laureates: production director Yuri Alexandrov, People's Artist of Russia, Vyacheslav Okunev, People's Artist of Russia, production conductor Maxim Valkov, soloists Yaramir Nizamutdinov (Phoebus), Evgenia Kravchenko (Esmeralda) and Yuri Borshchev (Frollo).
“Esmeralda” is a forgotten opera by the Russian composer who gave the world the innovative “The Stone Guest” and “Rusalka”. The premiere of the play took place in winter, and today this work is performed only on the stage of the St. Petersburg Opera Theatre. The author of the famous "Rusalka" at the beginning of his career dreamed about creating great romantic opera. He was especially attracted by the plots of the works of Victor Hugo. The colossal success of “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” brought to life numerous dramatizations, paintings and illustrations. The images of the novel switched to the opera and ballet scene, undergoing a rethinking and alteration. However, not all productions were successful. Dargomyzhsky proved himself in “Esmeralda” as a talented dramatist. A strong musical and theatrical work is marked by vivid characteristics of the actors and tense stage situations. A talented young composer created a work that retains impressive power to our time and managed to truly convey the atmosphere of action and the flavor of life in medieval Paris.
“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 officer 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 which 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.