OPERA WHITE, BLACK HERO

Roman Dolzhansky and Sergey Khodnev, Newspaper "Kommersant", № 205 (4990), 10/31/2012

Petersburg Mikhailovsky Theatre presented the first opera premiere of the new season. Home has been entrusted with the Russian Opera conductor Mikhail Tatarnikova and debuted an opera director Andriy Zholdak long earned the reputation of troublemakers. 

As for the direction of Andrei Zholdak, estimate its radical depends on the angle of view. If the judge of "Eugene Onegin" by the standards of known dramatic (and more specifically postdramaticheskih) performances of the director, his operatic debut - the product positively restrained and classical. Someone joked that the operator looks like Zholdak, honored "anfanteribl" and visionary provocateur, has implemented its debut on the opera stage, wearing a straitjacket. If we start counting from the opera fasting rules of piety, their adherents, of course, have to promise - and has promise - Ukrainian director pan in hell.

 

The first seconds of the play, however, even the most vigilant Puritans called act calming - a beautiful and almost empty white pavilion with not contrary to the spirit of the last century detail promises a sleek and sterile performance. But here is scattered on the floor black balls, and the neck of the girl who will quickly grow into Tatyana Larina, appear black beads - so the invasion of black on white. In contrasting black and white costumes comes the chorus, two sculptures of dogs appeared one is white, the second - black. First approximation troubles feel fool-servant and Larin-mother, like a demon which inhabits. Soon there himself "demon" - dressed in all black Onegin. The black label, thus beads, he recognizes that there must be a victim, and the conductor of blackness.

 

The whole performance consistently displaces black is white, and the lyrics gives way to Hell. To hell with the facts of life - that the nurse is almost the younger pupils, hidden behind the doors of the room washing machine and on the mantel strum a microwave oven. Tatiana threaten to pierce leaning out of the fireplace huge black stems with thorns, beat vase fell grandfather clock "waiting" Lena, who falls into the following picture them exactly in the coffin. Changes in favor of black paint walls, utensils and ceiling, less white in character costumes. The scene of the ball instead of the Moscow polonaise begins with a session of black magic, and the final game is already just in the dark. Supreme arbiter here seems strange little man (Alex Ingelevich) prisochinenny to the libretto as "servants Onegin" and similar to Uncle Chernomor. Drag for a very long beard, he conducts a burlesque chorus unceremoniously dart under the feet of the characters, and puts on airs, does not seem like a servant, but as the owner personally directs the "blackening", at the end of the same, satisfied with the work done on the floor and that , and writes in a thick book.

 

In the retelling of the visual concept of the play that was invented by the artist Monika Pormale (known decades of past cooperation with Hermanis), and the very idea of blackness invasion should probably seem illustrative straightforward. But the abundance of invented details provides the play director nagging fascination. Besides Andrew Zholdak invented some really amazing scenes. For example, Lensky's aria in the duel scene he appears for the first time in the history of interpretations of "Onegin" decided as a love dialogue singing hero and silent Olga - tense, dramatic and detailed implementation plastically. Generally, zholdakovskogo "Onegin", gone are the director of conventional wisdom "poetry" in the spheres of spiritual metaphysics, might be called an opera-ballet - so expressive score movements heroes, mutual attraction and repulsion of characters, their capture and exemptions.

 

Distracted by the unusual metaphors, it is not something that you notice right away, but actually to debut in opera directing work Zholdak looks nice music, not only plays, but also the rhythm of what is happening on the stage pretty well built with an eye on the score. Even the noise from which the startled audience (bursting balloons, breakable vases, etc.), eventually seem paradoxical way subordinate to the same logic, the music. Where visible novice is in the space-acoustic circumstances play: director staging singers are not always comfortable, they were nervous, lost their stroke, bands fell apart, the chorus, often singing from the depths of the scene (or at all for it), had to be partially podzvuchivat, which, of course, relative to the standard practice, but then his more "plastic" sound was not to good for the overall result. A bit sad that suffered most from the first picture, on which the director in actual fact its part clearly worked especially diligently and long: Quartet "Say that Tatiana?" (Where the four protagonists were just standing in the ticker and sang strongly in the hall) is the only seriously looked udavshimsya musical number.

 

Casting singers also looks pretty much "directing" - is clear that the director could not get past the temptation to comprehensively beat the dissimilarity of the two heroes, recognizing that "ice and fire do not differ less as we mutually raznotoy": tall, handsome, and cold as Bitter cold, Onegin (Janis Apeynis) and puny, short, in irrepressible teen bespectacled Lensky (Eugene Akhmedov). Appropriate vocal works that "mutual raznotu" only emphasized: Evgeny Akhmedov gave young turn around, and he sang amazingly beautiful, clean and sincerely (though without affectation and tearfulness, which is nice), but Janis Apeynis for greater illustrative his party arrogantly and dry tsedil , with a full sense and strong paint issuing seems only the final word about their shame, depression and pitiable fate. Equally contrast display and sisters Larina in to the director obviously was not (in most cases - in the beginning of the play, Tatiana and Olga look twins), but in fact, "Fire & Ice" is viewed, rather, listened to compare featureless Olga Sophia Feinberg and the main character in performed by Tatyana Ryaguzov, absolutely scorching in expression, though not always smooth vocal.

 

Conductor Michael Tatarnikov (for which this "Onegin" is also a kind of debut - the first opera production, released it for the post of musical director Michael) conducts play with honor, and stability of quality of his orchestra, in which it was impossible to hear any hint of possible conflicts with director - very important evidence in favor of the production. Actually, the musical freedom Andrew Zholdak afford only one. Following the finale should also brief epilogue - a reprise of the orchestra sounds coming to the opera, which shows a picture of a silent life Grameen family. Visually, it is almost identical to the very first scene of the play, only in reverse colors, and in the midst of total blackness on the floor scattered white balloons - the correct reference to the fatal cycling instead of linear melodrama.

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