Everyone has their own hell | Music life

The opera house in Nizhny Novgorod could for a long time surprise music lovers only with the aesthetics of “dusty rags” and a very low level of performance. Fortunately, times are changing: positive changes have begun to be felt.

A new stage in the Nizhny Novgorod Opera and Ballet Theater named after the AS Pushkin Theater started in February 2021 with the premiere of an extravagant production of Mozart’s Figaro’s wedding. Director Dmitry Belyanushkin, who quickly followed current trends, moved the plot to today so that the Countess could easily call her maid Susanna on her mobile phone. Critics, who evaluated the performance, noted the successful musical design of the concept.

The current premiere is a project of a new team of artistic director Alexei Trifonov and chief conductor Dmitry Sinkovsky. Gluck’s pioneering opera Orpheus and Eurydice was presented in the city’s new concert hall, which was built inside the historical magazines at Strelka at the confluence of the Oka and the Volga.

Pavilions-layers “layers”, whose frame looks like an openwork metal tip, appeared in the late 19th century. In 1896, the XVI All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition was held in Nizhny Novgorod, which Emperor Nicholas II personally visited and examined such exhibitions as the first Russian car by Yakovlev and Frese. After dozens of years of oblivion (symbolically, meaning echoes the fate of the Nizhny Novgorod Opera House), two surviving warehouses were revived – a gallery and a concert hall for 426 seats were built inside them with a glass panoramic wall overlooking Strelka and the historic part of the city.

The acoustics in the new hall, where the “theatrical echo” softly subsides due to the vertical ribs of the side walls, was one of the first to check out Teodor Currentzis – he was pleased. The production of “Orpheus and Eurydice” also confirmed the remarkable acoustic result: in the last lines of a small hall everything is heard “as in the palm of your hand.”

The performance was directed by the winners of the Golden Mask Prize Vyacheslav Ignatov and Maria Litvinova, Dmitry Sinkovsky was responsible for the musical part. It is interesting that the main message of all the statements from the directors before the premiere and a source of pride is their own new edition of the score. But it was this question that turned out to be even more debatable than the show’s visual solution.

The well-known musicologist Larisa Kirillina in the booklet for the performance tells in detail about the reasons for the emergence of different editions: they were almost always associated with the proposed circumstances and depended on the country where the opera was staged and on the taste of the artistic authorities. For example, the happy ending of Eurydice’s resurrection to one of the emperors was presented by Gluck and his librettist Calzabigi as a birthday present. “There is no single correct interpretation,” the researcher concludes, “the masterpiece continues to live and develop, enriched with new meanings.”

The “Nizhny Novgorod” edition of the opera is based on the unpopular Parma version. “The numbers that were not included in the Parma edition we took from the Vienna edition, we took two issues from the Paris edition and one from the Neapolitan edition, so we now have our own Nizhny Novgorod edition,” said the directors. Alas, the desire to embrace the infinite and accommodate the maximum in the editorial office cannot be praised. The development of the plot seemed noticeably prolonged, and in this effect bright dramatic accents on the stage with furies, on the luxurious flute Melodi and dance sections in the talented and stylish choreography of Mikhail Kolegov, a participant in the fifth nano-opera directorial contest, “hidden” in this effect . The sphere of dance in “Orpheus and Eurydice” is, by the way, considerably expanded by pantomime and shadow theater – and all these “components” were undoubtedly successful for the ballet dancers.

The director’s idea of ​​the show is far from ordinary, although many already know it: in Nizhny Novgorod, the premiere is a version of the show that was presented several years ago at the Perm festival “Territory”. Instead of Eurydice, Orpheus dies, the final resurrection is reconsidered by the reunification of the lovers in the realm of the dead, Greek motifs are replaced by Egyptian with the introduction of the scene of embalming and removal of organs in the beginning, instead of the underground provoked allusions to outer space. All these solutions are possible, after all, everyone has their own hell. Of course, most of the director’s subtitles can not be counted without verbal comments – but the stormy flow of associations to what happens on stage does not cease until the finale, the source of imagination is added to the performance structure, and this compensates for lovers of such processes.

In terms of quality, the musical part was divided into two components – the orchestra and the singers: under the sign of inspiration, they were rarely united. The musicians of the new orchestra at Nizhny Novgorod’s opera and ballet theater “La voce strumentale” under the direction of Dmitry Sinkovsky successfully balanced between style and the unlimited possibilities of their instruments: the conductor took a comfortable tempo, placed accents in an interesting way and released almost instrumental theater. The part of Orpheus that included aria Addio, o miei sospiri, written by Gluck for countertenor and edited a century later by Berlioz for mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot, was performed by Darya Telyatnikova. The image of Eurydice, secondary to the composer’s idea, but enhanced by the directors, was embodied by Tatyana Ivashchenko. Lilia Gaisina, soloist in the Moscow Theater Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, was invited to reinforce the small but dramatic role of Cupid, who in the performance was replaced by nothing less than Death itself. Unfortunately, the singing of all three singers, who have wonderful voices, was at a crossroads between pseudo-baroque and “singing on a support”: the soloists’ stylistic intuition failed, but they managed the acting tasks and looked convincing.

If we talk about “Orpheus and Eurydice” in a dissertation – the experiment is not ideal, but it pleases. As I recall, the theater’s artistic director, Alexei Trifonov, promised at one of the press conferences a new production of Carmen and a collaboration with the Bolshoi Theater: our interest in the plans has not diminished after the recently discussed premiere, we wait.

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