Music Director: Dmitri Jurowski
Idea and Libretto by: Yuri Lyubimov
Stage Director: Igor Ushakov
Set Designer: Boris Messerer
Costume Designer: Rustam Khamdamov
Choreography: Anna Abalikhina
Stage choirmaster: Yulia Senyukova
Choirmaster: Maria Chekrkchieva
Lighting Designer: Sergey Skornetsky
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes with no intermission
Premiered on 19 May 2014
Recommended for 12+
This opera was created at the initiative of the renowned theatre director Yuri Lyubimov, a reformer of the 20th-century theatre and the founder of the legendary Taganka Theatre. He wrote an original libretto for the opera, based on Molière’s, Bulgakov’s and Kozma Prutkov’s works. Yuri Lyubimov was the true leader of the project: he gathered a brilliant team including the set designer Boris Messerer, the costume designer Rustam Khamdamov, and the composer Vladimir Martynov, a key figure of contemporary arts and the only classical music composer who is honoured with his own annual festival. In the winter of 2014, Yuri Lyubimov and the production’s music director Dmitri Jurowski cast the performers.
It so happened that later Yuri Lyubimov had to pass the staging of the opera over to Igor Ushakov whose recent productions were highly acclaimed by the public and critics alike. The most memorable of his productions was Rossini’s Le comte Ory nominated for the Golden Mask Russian Theatrical Award. In 2013, Igor Ushakov assisted Yuri Lyubimov in the production of Borodin’s Prince Igor in the Bolshoi.
The plot of the opera is rather factitious. Molière and his actors are preparing for the King’s visit as they are to act out a play in his presence. But Molière cannot find a common ground with his actors. The actors have not studied their parts, but Molière makes them rehearse the scenes they plan to show to the King, who never appears… That storyline has given Vladimir Martynov an opportunity to play with styles and to guide us through the styles of different epochs and countries: from Monteverdi, Mozart, Rossini and Wagner to Debussy, Stravinsky, Andrew Lloyd Webber, from baroque music to rock opera and musicals.
The main idea of the opera is the eternal story of relationships between art and authorities, the Artist and the King. The Novaya Opera’s production explores all aspects of these relationships — from love to hatred, from worship to irony — and invites the public to follow the characters in finding their way out from the labyrinth of fears, worries and doubts.
Especially for the project two countertenors have been invited — Oleg Bezinskikh and Vladimir Magomadov, the winner of the 2013 Grand Opera TV show.
If we want to define the genre, it will be an opera buffa, but with a somewhat tragic outcome. However I tried to compose “Molierian” music — light, joyous and graceful.
In the sets we wanted to reflect both the Moliere theatre and the elegant Louis XIV epoch. Forestage doors and chandeliers in empty space help create a stylized theatre and palace atmosphere. The central place in the set is given to an openwork metal construction consisting of staircases and doors, airy and lightsome. The backdrop will be decorated with a huge portrait of Louis XIV shown in the centre of a sun circle with radiating beams.