Monday, November 21, 2011

One more proof of greatness: Ruslan and Lyudmila directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov

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 :)


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  2. I didn't read the synopsis as you suggested, perhaps I will later but right now I am just way too mesmerized by it all. Having seen the Herheim Onegin I also wonder what kind of answer Tcherniakov is giving to that production, but that may be just silly misunderstanding on my part. Tcherniakov has a sense of humor all his own.

  3. I just realized my secret husband Charles Workman is in this opera. OMG! He sang the best O mio tesoro I have ever heard at Santa Fe!

    1. Hi schmup53 - thanks for the spousal support (I'm flattered!). All best wishes, Charles Workman

    2. You are so welcome dear. I did truly enjoy your performance in SFE. except that you sang Il mio tesoro xaxaxa - senior moment. And by the way our relationship is a SECRET!
      Because I am also secretly married to Bernard Richter, Peter Mattei, and Matthew Polenzani. Don't you remember we got secretly engaged after I saw you playing with that stick in Acis and Galatea? Cheers!

  4. Brilliant. What a chilly audience at the end. I couldn't help but think about the weakening of the ruling party as I watched this. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Hi schmup53 - thanks for the spousal support (I'm flattered!). All best wishes, Charles Workman