Mikhail Muginstein — an Honored Artist of Russia, Ph.D. in Art History, a professor at the Mussorgsky Urals State Conservatory (Yekaterinburg),a professor at RATI-GITIS, the founder and director of the Music Theatre Centre (1991, the University for the Humanities, Yekaterinburg),a member of the Music Theatre Committee of the Russian Theatre Workers’ Union (1991–1996),the initiator and chairman of the jury of the Casta Diva Russian Opera Award (since 1996),the chairman of the Expert Board of the Competitions for the Boris Pokrovsky Prize established by the Russian Theatre Workers’ Union (since 2009) — is one of the world’s most prominent opera critics and experts.
His work is a symbiosis of academic knowledge and enlightenment in the best meaning of the word. His articles, essays and reviews have been published not only in academic journals, but also in newspapers and magazines intended for the general reader. For several decades, Mikhail Muginsteinopera clubs have been functioning in many Russian cities; they are aimed to acquaint the spectator with outstanding productions and soloists and to discuss freely modern opera issues. During all these years Mikhail Muginshtein has been introducing the difficult, but beautiful opera world to spectators of all ages and of different levels of musical competence.
His enormous experience of studying and popularizing the opera art has been summarized in a unique publication — “The Chronicle of the World Opera”. It is the first Russian chronologically classified book on opera history. A composer, an opera and its interpretations and interpreters (conductors, directors, artists, singers) and interpretations are seen as an undivided whole. The chronological classification helps the author create a holistic panorama of opera history, to discern in it periods and trends, leading genres and schools and to get acquainted with composers and their pieces which represent the matter of the opera evolution and its focus. All the articles are impeccably logical and give a comprehensive analysis of both the opera text and its implementations, including productions of the 21st century. Thus the historical approach becomes relevant and timely. The artwork and illustrations are superb (scenes from the most important productions in the history of music theatre and from the best productions of our time). The reference sections are so detailed that they have inherent value and can be used as an opera glossary. As a result the book is cross-functional: it is intended both for opera professionals (singers, directors, critics) and a wide range of opera lovers.
The first volume which covers the period between 1600 and 1850 was published in 2005, the second volume (1850–1900) — in 2012 and the third volume (the opera of the 20th century) — in 2015 (all in in Yekaterinburg). The digital version of the first volume, which includes 1000 video excerpts of operatic productions, became a bestseller. It is a unique multimedia publication that has no parallel in Russia.
From the numerous reviews we’d like to mention the comment of People’s Artist of Russia Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre: ”The Chronicle of the World Opera co-opts the achievements of the modern theatre, in which there are Salzburg and Munich, St Petersburg and Moscow. The book follows the world’s best practice: it is the first time a Russian book speaks about opera according international standards. It is the history of opera throughout four centuries. There is an impressive list of operas and there is a living process in which opera is shown not as a monument of the past, but as an actor in today’s life. The appearance of The Chronicle of the World Opera is a kind of manifesto: Russia is an active participant in the universal opera boom.”
Since 2013, Mikhail Muginshtein has been the Novaya Opera’s Assistant Director for Repertoire.
Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro — Drama Advisor
Strauss' Salome — Drama Advisor
Gounod's Faust — Drama Advisor
Humperdinck's The Gingerbread House, or Hänsel und Gretel — Drama Advisor
Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia — Drama Advisor