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Thursday, March 15, 2018

In the Bolshoi theatre the premiere of “the condemnation of Faust” Berlioz

At the end of the season the Bolshoi theatre released the premiere, which waited with interest for the musical public. Here I merged a lot of things: the material itself — a dramatic legend of Berlioz ‘ “damnation of Faust” is not naigranno essay on the Opera stage; the identity of the conductor of is the musical Director of the Bolshoi Tugan Sokhiev; and, of course, the figure of Director — Peter Stein, an outstanding master of the dramatic and operatic stage direction.

photo: bolshoi.ru

Peter Stein and Tugan Sokhiev.

Stein came to the works of Berlioz with a pinch of irony. But the question is: did the public perceive the irony adequately or it (the audience) seriously watched the red-faced machinations of Mephistopheles, flying heroes on puppet horses or divine ascension Margarita with the help of ropes…

In the drama the legend — so the author identified the genre of his works, which nevertheless are all called Opera, there are only four characters: Faust, Mephistopheles, Margaret, and one Brander. But nothing in the chamber this work is not: it is saturated with a huge number of choruses and crowd scenes in which chorus, MIME, and ballet dancers transform from peyzan, marching soldiers, from drunken revellers in heavenly spirits of the students in princes of darkness, etc. the Plot is very simple in comparison not only with the tragedy of Goethe, but also Gounod’s Opera, created, however, fifteen years later. Berlioz, who wrote the libretto together with Almiron Gandangara, created the image of a romantic hero of the Byronic type. He is not satisfied, only nature gives him delight, but for a short while. Easy Mephistopheles takes Faust, first given him a virgin to seduce, and then rolled him on his flying horse straight to pandemonium. Where are the happy demons greeted him by chanting in a mysterious language. Well, reviled and executed Margarita goes in the opposite direction to heaven during the singing angels.

Wrote this a Berlioz seriously? It seems that way. Although he finished his work, the work of twenty, in 1846. And laugh at the romantic “rushing” began much earlier. Our Pushkin, for example, in “Eugene Onegin”, which, in the opinion of unorthodox scholars is witty menippea, irony on Byron and his imitators. Anyway, Peter Stein announced his intention “to show the famous romantic irony, which pervades the Opera. Moreover, the Director believes that “love story of Faust and Marguerite is described ironically”.

Director and set designer Ferdinand, Wegerbauer, strictly following the score, illustrated all the prescribed remarks. Peyzane danced, the soldiers the sounds of the Hungarian March (the most famous “hit” of the Opera) marched in the literal sense, along, across, and even diagonally across the scene, and then one and all perished in battle. Stray lights were dancing a minuet. The hell fire blazed, and the demons pushed back trying to get out of sinners; the angels were equipped with headgear in the shape of a halo, but what about the flying horses and the rise of Margaret mentioned…

It was, of course, very funny. For those who have delved in romantic irony. However, as it seemed, it didn’t quite go into any Tugan Sokhiev orchestra, no soloists. No, of course, Dmitry Beloselsky (Mephistopheles) was filled with satanic sarcasm. But all that sarcasm was addressed to Faust and myself. Although over a red face and an “evil” step could well be to chuckle. And so our romantic heroes — what irony! And Albanian tenor of Saimir Pyrgi in the role of Faust, and the wonderful Ksenia Dudnikova as Marguerite was very serious. The music of Berlioz, dramatic, bright, full of contrasts of timbre, dynamic, tempo, genre, as if frozen in place, in obedience to the cautious, not to say sluggish Maestro sohieva, and showed not only the promised twist, but even any energy. Which is very surprising: from Tugan Sohiev, who perfectly knows and loves Berlioz and, in his own words, he feels his music is “power and drama”, I wanted to hear much more “powerful and dramatic” interpretation.

Overall it was a colourful show with a fun, fundamentally simple theatrical effects, but, alas, not brought satisfaction. And even the beautiful vocals of Ksenia Dudnikova though and saved the situation, but only partly. Remains, like Faust, to complain about the souls, thirsty and not finding happiness here…”

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