Alexey Shelygin

The Toy Seller

The Toy Seller

Fantasy opera in two acts

Playwriter: Victor Dobrosotsky

Librettist: Kirill Krastoshevsky

Music Director: Alexander Zhilenkov

Conductors: Alexander Zhilenkov, Valery Kritskov

Stage Director: Alexey Veiro

Designer: Daria Sintsova

Choirmaster: Yulia Senyukova

Choreographer: Sergey Satarov

Lighting Designer: Aivar Salikhov

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes with one intermission

Premiered on 23 November 2019

The Novaya Opera Theatre presents The Toy Seller fantasy opera. The opera has been written at the request of the Novaya Opera by Alexey Shelygin, one of the most in-demand theatre and cinema composer and a prize-winner of the prestige awards The Golden Ram, The Gull, Nika and The Golden Rhino. Alexey Shelygin’s works are well-known to the public as he has composed music to over 150 films and series (including the films The Sky. The Plane. The Girl. and Shadowboxing, and the series The Brigade and The Penal Battalion),to many TV-programmes, drama performances, documentary films, as well as academic compositions and functional music.

The philosophical fairy-tale about a French toy seller who attains happiness and the reason to live in his ancestral homeland, Russia, has already been used as the plot of a homonymous play (2010),a film (2012),a musical (2018) and now an opera. However, the opera’s libretto stands in stark contrast to the book and the film. Poet Kirill Krastoshevsky has changed the narrative move, added, according to him, ‘some theatrical action’, created a whole world of toys that equates to the world of people. In the opera they are performed by choir artists and each of them will become a unique toy!

The stage director Alexey Veiro conceived the opera as an apologue performance so that everyone could find something important for themselves. “The nice thing about this format is that it can exist both as a fairy-tale for a child and as an apologue for an adult with an important message for introspective self-reflection’. The action on the stage is like a play of a child who came to his father’s office, sat down at his desk covered with newspapers and stock quotes, put out his toys and began to play.

The amazingly beautiful opera music is absolutely traditional; the influence of the cinema is explicitly felt in it. According to the conductor Alexander Zhilenkov, “here there are such hit themes that are easy to remember, and you want to hum them”. For the composer Alexey Shelygin it was important to create such an opera that would be nice to listen to for the audience and to perform with pleasure for the singers. “My opera is in permanent dialogue with the opera of the last three centuries and sometimes even with the baroque time. The toy is a strange thing which unites reality (for the child it is exactly real life at the moment of play) and fantasy. I hope that spectators will feel this boundary between fantasy and reality in my music”.



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