Parade drama Directors at the Bolshoi theatre continues. Rimas Tuminas, the artistic Director of the Vakhtangov, the author, perhaps the most human and poignant plays of Moscow theatres today, put in a Large “Katerina Izmaylov” Shostakovich, holding an Opera with a complicated fate, first banned, then altered, moreover, not simple as the musical language and dramaturgy. Two variants of approach to the score — extremist-radical and carefully-conservative — Tuminas definitely prefer the second. And, no doubt, was right.
Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre
For the premiere of “Katerina Ismailova” — increased interest in the orchestra find their places representatives of the government, the diplomatic corps and officials of the city government departments. The Lithuanian Embassy is almost in full composition, which is logical: the Director, set designer and choreographer — the pride of Lithuania.
The choice of the second version of the Opera, which Shostakovich did in 1962, belongs to conductor Tugan Sohiev, it gave rise to his interest in the late period of the composer’s life. Edition are markedly different from each other, but this is hardly important for the average viewer-listener. Much more important is the difference between the story told in the Opera (in both versions), from the literary source Leskov. Leskov Katerina Lvovna — the monster killing the child. In Shostakovich’s passionate nature, which breaks the grip of a meaningless, devoid of joy of life, finished off two nice men. The difference is obvious.
For Tuminas was important that Catherine — a creature alien to the world in which she lives. It “serves” is manifested in everything: in hair, in fancy dress, looking to nowhere. The selection of German singer Nadia Michael in this decision appears to be nonrandom. It’s just different. And even her accent is perceived as an element of the image. The more that other characters are more or less tied to time and place: costume designer Maria Danilova has complied with certain stylistic canons, allowing to correlate the action with Russia in the late XIX century. Scenography (Adomas Yatsovskis) more abstract and theatrical in its gloomy prediction: two massive brick wall — like two tombstones, converging menacingly, just the monsters before the fight, tired and spoiled. On them — different Windows and old wooden doors.
And only in the final picture instead of the walls will be a giant swing, which will sgradata convicts. And a huge beam crashing down in the time of the death of Catherine and Sonetti. “Oh, heavy fate, our fate!” — this replica of an old convict, of course, the key to understanding the concept and composer, and Director. And that these ideas are the same, the fact that the Director wasn’t trying to “add” or “rethink” the original, gives the performance of Tuminas depth and some curious, not peculiar to our cynical time, a serious truthfulness.
This is primarily achieved by detailed work with the singers. Consciously bring: singers, not actors — despite the fact that each individual creates the brightest character, none of the soloists are not confused about the techniques that could interfere with the singing. The performer of the role of Sergei British tenor John Dushek so unique, including and appearance (handsome, head polished as a billiard ball, free) that it is difficult to imagine in its place of another artist. Andrew Goniukov expressive in the role of Boris Timofeyevich, although his “awesome” demeanor is somewhat exaggerated and on the verge of out of place in his scenes of grotesque. But Marat Gali in the role of Zinovy Borisovich very organic: a miserable, fussy, and then gets off on a tantrum. Built great role of the Police officer (Andrew Grigorev) — the invasion of the grotesque in the tragic story. This is done with a sense of proportion and taste — not going into unnecessary slapstick and mindless comicvine.
The score of “Katerina Ismailova” has a great amplitude of contradictory and even incompatible artistic and stylistic techniques. Here symphonic fragments, filled with erotic lyrics Wagnerian sense, are combined with choral frescoes in the spirit of Mussorgsky, and even expressionistic and dramatic recitative scenes, typical of operas of the first half of the twentieth century, combined with special shostakovichian grotesque, in which he was the unique master. There is no polystylism: Shostakovich had such a bright individual style of composition that belonging throughout this incredible palette one the author heard in every bar. This diversity a couple of times the Director failed in his quest to motivate every theatrical musical “attack” of the composer. Because appeared on stage a group of guys in fancy hats that a few times playfully danced something directed by the choreographer Angelica Choline, which is hardly relevant to the history of Katerina Izmailova. And some fragments of music that tells the Director: here the accent! — not heard. But this is again, rather, from respect for music and the desire to feel its non-trivial nature than from a desire to “increase” for fresh meanings.
For Tugan Sokhiev multidimensionality of the score was the territory in which he fully turned around as an excellent musician, sweep the orchestra and singers. In fact, the Maestro has performed a monumental symphonic work in which (as they say about the Opera scores of Wagner) voices of soloists, ensembles, chorus and orchestra, and clear, not losing its significance the word was one, imperceptibly and seamlessly redistributing among themselves the priorities, but remaining a single sound substance. And he joined in a living organism as equal and necessary participant.