Thursday, September 21, 2017

Yekaterinburg's Theater of Opera and Ballet stages "Boris Godunov"

Yekaterinburg's Theater of Opera and Ballet recently staged Modest Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" as part of the theater's 100th anniversary celebration.

The production was directed by Alexander Titel, the artistic head of the Moscow opera troupe Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater for the past 21 years, The Moscow Times reports.

Titel had previously directed Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Night Before Christmas" at the Bolshoi Theater, a production noted for its captivating staging. Since then, he has directed many productions, showing himself to be a director with exceptional skill and imagination.

Titel's most recent notable productions include Jacques Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" and Vladimir Kobeikin's madcap "Hamlet (Danish) (Russian) Comedy," both at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko.

Titel started out as director of the Yekaterinburg theater in the early 1980s. The production marks his first return to stage an opera since 1991.

"Boris Godunov" exists in two version, the first was completed in 1869 and was rejected by the St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater, party due to the lack of a major female role. Mariinsky accepted the second version in which Mussorgsky discarded one of the original scenes and added three others, two of which are set in Poland. A female role was also added - noblewoman Marina Mnishek, who attached herself to Grigory, the pretender of the Russian throne, with the aim of joining him in leading a Polish army to overthrow Tsar Boris and convert Russia to Catholicism.

Titel and the Yekaterinburg theater chose to perform the less frequently performed 1869 version of the opera. The focus of the production is mostly on the opera's principal protagonists, Tsar Boris, who is tortured in mind and soul for bringing about the murder of the tsarevich, Dmitry, the last surviving son of Ivan the Terrible, the Moscow Times reports.

In the Yekaterinburg production, Titel enhanced the dramatic effect by moving action forward from the turn of the 17th century to modern times. He also eliminated the intermission.

The set was designed by longtime Stanislavsky and Neirovich-Danchenko designer Vladimir Arefyev. It consisted of a semicircular wall with crumbling plaster and exposed red brick, serving as an effective set for indoor and outdoor scenes.

The orchestra was conducted by German maestro Michael Guttler, who will lead Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth" at the Bolshoi next spring.