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HomeLatest NewsThe Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater has its own “The Tsar's Bride”...

The Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater has its own “The Tsar’s Bride” – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: April 24, 2024 Time: 09:41:30

The performance is gloomy, although it is not strictly tied to the oprichnina era. Photo: Press service of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater

“The Tsar’s Bride” is not a rare name on posters. Taking into account the upcoming Rimsky-Korsakov anniversary next year, the number of productions will probably increase, although today this opera is performed in most Russian theaters. And after the current premiere, and in all the capital’s opera houses, without exception. Therefore, the question of attracting the public is not at all idle, because in our repertory theaters a performance must not only endure two or three premiere series, but also remain on the bill for decades. And in this sense, the effort of the production team is obvious.

“You see, every year on December 31, my friends and I go to the bathhouse. This is our tradition” – the famous quote from Eldar Riazanov’s immortal film becomes the key to this production. The first act of the opera, which in many ways is always the tuning fork of the entire performance, takes place in the bathhouse and in the company of drunk and half-naked men. They drown their love suffering in the bottom of a glass and organize a comforting corporate party in the middle of steam baths and fountains with beauties who sing and dance in provocative guipure robes. The show, frankly, is not for everyone… Probably, this can happen in life, and even more so in the theater. But Rimsky-Korsakov’s music does not respond at all to the movement of this conductor, but sounds only as a formal background. And the action quickly turns into a kind of mission called “The Day of the Oprichnik or the Tsar’s Bride.”

The director follows modern theatrical fashion and promises a radical game with time, talking about moving the action forward half a century from today. It is true that this future cannot be read in the performance, even if one studies the brochure issued by the theater for the premiere before it begins.

The acting is gloomy, although the action is not strictly tied to the dark era of the oprichnina and does not turn into a political thriller. At the same time, the plot of May’s drama about the third marriage of Ivan the Terrible, which became the literary basis of the composer, now often provokes something similar. Since, according to historical facts, the couple lived together only 15 days, after which the king’s wife died under very mysterious circumstances. The first performance took place on October 22, 1899 at the Moscow Russian Private Opera Association theater of Savva Mamontov.

Moreover, the main character of the opera is not the royal bride Marfa Sobakina, but Lyubasha, the “miraculous girl”, the mistress of the boyar Gryazny, whom he betrayed by “having his eye” on Marfa Vasilievna. It is Lyubasha who turns the wheel of universal tragedy, which actually turns her into a witch. The director declares (again according to the booklet) “an attempt to understand the extent of the humility and naivety of the Russian people”, but in reality the result is “a praise of lust”, which inevitably leads to a bloody end. To enhance the depressive mood, a huge ruined tower with beams sticking out like spikes was built on the stage, on which a “random” (unrelated to the plot) bloody corpse hangs for half of the performance.

All the heroes of the opera are deliberately taken collectively in their images and characters, leaving the impression that we have already seen all this. So, for example, Lyubasha, unbeknownst to the authors of the opera, turns out to be pregnant (Santuzza was in the same position at the behest of Dmitry Bertman in “Rural Honor” on the stage of “Helikon”). Perhaps the director, with this act, wanted to show the common points of all humanity and, consequently, of all the characters in the opera…

The musical level of the performance was also very mediocre. Which is probably inevitable when a repertory theater is faced with the task of not only creating a work of art, but also ensuring uninterrupted distribution of the performance and employing the maximum number of full-time soloists.

In fact, the theater released the premiere in three casts. But, it is true, only with two Dirty Anton Zaraev and Dmitry Zuev, to whom, according to the Hamburg story, this group of boyars, requiring extraordinary charisma and solid vocal and technical skill, has not yet submitted. However, if we discard all intratheatrical conventions of role distribution, then the MAMT troupe is able to present a strong cast, especially with its “weak half”, the flaws of which are insignificant and, naturally, associated with the excitement of the premiere. Lyubasha Ekaterina Lukash is good and attractive with her temperament and her voice. Polina Sharovarova is charming in the supporting role of Dunyasha (Marfa’s confidant), making this picture light but notable for her talent. Natalya Muradymova’s figure of Dunyasha’s mother, Domna Saburova, also turned out to be colorful and heavy.

The highlight of the performance was soprano Elizaveta Pakhomova… Blok’s lines come to mind: “The girl sang in the church choir…”. For the young singer, who only this season was promoted from the choir to the rank of soloist (after being noticed at the Khibla Gerzmava competition), the role of Marfa actually became a stellar debut. Natural, extremely touching, with a voice clear and bright like a spring stream, she, like no one else, evoked in the audience true empathy and those emotions that are not forgotten for a long time after the performance.

The orchestra sounded very different. When director and producer Arif Dadashev is in charge, everything is strict, sometimes even rude and indifferent. If the orchestra is conducted by its young Visa Fyodor Beznosikov, the orchestra becomes more sensual, but the number of technical defects and cases of discrepancies between the orchestra and the singers increase. But in any case, the theater should think about acquiring new instruments to significantly improve the quality of orchestral sound.

The director, of course, “takes” the ending of the play for himself, sharply changing the meanings: the phrase “Suffering innocent, forgive me!” Gryaznoy first addresses the child born in Lyubasha’s womb, then he addresses the dispossessed Marfa. Gryaznoy kills Bomelius (the doctor who prepared the poison for everyone) and Lyubasha shoots herself. It is obvious that the issue of devaluing the value of human life is on the agenda.

By the way

According to plans, the theater’s 105th season will be exclusively conceived with Russian opera. Thus, in addition to “The Tsar’s Bride” by Rimsky-Korsakov, which has already seen the light, two more premieres are expected:

March 5th. “Not only love” by Rodion Shchedrin. Director Evgeny Pisarev, director Felix Korobov;

June 26th. “Mermaid” by Alexander Dargomyzhsky. Director Alexander Titel, director Timur Zangiev.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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