Dmitri Tcherniakov is one of the five best opera directors today, and this new production of Ruslan and Lyudmila --by which the new Bolshoi Theater in Moscow reopened its gates to the opera lovers-- is one of numerous proofs that this man is uncommonly gifted, clever, audacious (in any sets of circumstances) -- in short, a genius.
You should keep in mind that the Moscow opera goers are far more conservative than those filling up the seats at the Paris Opera, and that the Bolshoi is even more conservative than The Met. With that in mind one starts watching this fascinating production and realizes how smoothly Tcherniakov leads his public to make them open up and start thinking about this opera as of something that is not taken out from the shelves and unfolded for their entertainment, but of something that is close to them, talks to them.
From the production photos alone, the show seemed to be one of those tired historic opulent productions, but 10 minutes in the show and you understand it's just the costumes that have been used to appropriately depict a traditional wedding in contemporary Russia...
Notice that Tcherniakov started using video in a way similar to what Denis Guéguin does in Krzysztof Warlikowski productions. Also the photos leaked prior to the premiere resembles the trick Stefan Herheim used before unveiling his Lohengrin in Berlin [when the photos mislead us to believe that the show was going to be traditionalist.]
And so, while the new productions at the Paris Opera look like tired copies of already notoriously stale productions broadcast from the Met, The Bolshoi here makes a quick leapfrog by rethinking through this Pushkin inspired opera that Tcherniakov prepared together with Vladimir Jurowski who made the score sound refreshing, and with a superb line up of singers: Mikhail Petrenko, Albina Shagimuratova, Charles Workman, Yuriy Mynenko (!), Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Almas Svilpa, Vladimir Ognovenko, and Elena Zaremba.
Tcherniakov and Jurowski are this new creative and open Russia.
Now, do read the synopsis before watching Ruslan and Lyudmila in the video attached below. Enjoy :)