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07 July 2017 (Fri), 19:00 World famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1776) - Small Stage - ! PREMIERE ! Opera Mieczyslaw Weinberg "The Idiot" Opera in four acts

Running time: 3 hours 5 minutes (till 22:05)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Mieczyslaw Weinberg "The Idiot" Opera in four acts 2017/2018

Bass: Valery Gilmanov
Bass-baritone: Nikolai Kazansky
Mezzo-soprano: Yelena Manistina
Tenor: Stanislav Mostovoy
Conductor: Michal Klauza

Composer: Mieczysław Weinberg
Choirmaster producer: Valery Borisov
Light Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Costume Designer: Galina Solovieva
Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Music Director: Michal Klauza
Stage Director: Evgeny Arie

Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Bolshoi Opera

Opera in 4 act

Performed in Russian, with syncronized English supertitles

Premiere of this production: 12 February 2017, Bolshoi theatre, Moscow, Russia

Throughout the XX century Dostoevsky's philosophical and expressive prose - namely his major novel The Idiot - aroused keen interest among composers. Taking Dostoyevsky's novel as its starting point, Mieczysław Weinberg made Prince Myshkin the protagonist of his opera. We can assume that a naive, compassionate Prince is preaching the composer’s own ideals. The libretto was created in collaboration with the musicologist Alexander Medvedev, a permanent librettist and a close friend of the composer. It is a substantial work, over three hours of music (208 minutes), for sure, such huge amount is above the strength of contemporary audience. So, the piece was turned into a cohesive story suited for the stage.

Libretto by Alexander Medvedev

based on the novel of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Music Director MICHAŁ KLAUZA

Director EVGENY ARIE

Designer SEMYON PASTUKH

Costume Designer GALINA SOLOVYOVA

Lighting Designer DAMIR ISMAGILOV

Chief Chorus Master VALERY BORISOV

 

Name Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919, Warsaw - 1996, Moscow), the author of 22 symphonies, opera 7, as well as the music for the film "The Cranes Are Flying" and the cartoon "Winnie the Pooh", is little known both in Russia and in the West. The explanation is contained in the biography of the composer: escape

from the Nazis to the Soviet Union, his friendship with "suspicious" Shostakovich, his marriage to the daughter of Solomon Mikhoels, arrest because of the connection

with the "doctors' plot" almost miraculous escape from the Gulag. Weinberg worked hard and productively, but "in the table".

In 2010, opera Weinberg "Passenger" performed at the Bregenz Festival produced the sensation, and in 2013 a small theater of

Mannheim dared to stage "The Idiot", which became a real discovery.



Welcome, Prince Myshkin!

Throughout the XX century Dostoevsky's philosophical and expressive prose - namely his major novel The Idiot - aroused keen interest among composers. Taking Dostoyevsky's novel as its starting point, Mieczysław Weinberg made Prince Myshkin the protagonist of his opera. We can assume that a naive, compassionate Prince is preaching the composer’s own ideals. The libretto was created in collaboration with the musicologist Alexander Medvedev, a permanent librettist and a close friend of the composer. It is a substantial work, over three hours of music (208 minutes), for sure, such huge amount is above the strength of contemporary audience. So, the piece was turned into a cohesive story suited for the stage.

The story line of the opera reflects almost every twist and turn of the novel. The authors focus on the most vivid scenes of the novel, and feature only the main characters: there are only twelve sung roles. Nevertheless, one significant character was introduced - a Knife-Grinder. His haunting, monotonous tune is echoed in the music, he appears before the Prince Myshkin in the last scene, heralding the tragic final. The director of the production at the Bolshoi Yevgeny Arye strongly focuses the viewer's attention on this character: ‘Grinder’s voice becomes the part of delusions of Rogozhin and Myshkin. In this production there are three Grinders who really appear in the first and penultimate scenes.’

The stage design becomes essential element of the production. According to the score, ‘the action of the opera occurs on the three sites, located on the main stage. Events at each of them are taking place in isolation, with instant transitions.’ This cinematic technique becomes a kind of landmark of Weinberg. His soundtracks for movies and animated films were indeed popular in the Soviet Union. (Weinberg wrote music for more than sixty films, including the world-famous The Cranes Are Flying and The Last Inch).

The Idiot at the Bolshoi is staged by a well-known theatre director Yevgeny Arye, founder and artistic director of Gesher Theatre (Tel Aviv). In a dramatic theatre he has staged performances on the works of Dostoyevsky twice, but it is the first time he works with an opera. Artistic Director of the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Michał Klauza serves as music director of the production. He made his debut at the Bolshoi Theatre as music director in production of Donizetti`s Don Pasquale. Set designer Simon Pastukh in alliance with his wife, costume designer Galina Solovieva work on the design of the production. They both have already worked at the Bolshoi - in 2005, they were members of the production team for Shostakovich’s Bolt (choreographer Alexei Ratmansky). In 2008, Galina Solovieva worked on the production of Desyatnikov`s Russian Seasons, the ballet was revived at the Bolshoi in 2015 and soon it will be back on our stage.




Synopsis

Act I 
Scene 1. The Meeting on the Train
 
Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin is returning to St Petersburg following lengthy medical treatment in Switzerland. In his compartment he meets Parfyon Rogozhin and Lebedev. Rogozhin has just received an inheritance of two million roubles from his father who recently died. Not long before that, Parfyon had been forced to flee from his furious parent: he had spent ten thousand on a gift for Nastasia Filippovna whom he met and instantly fell in love with. And now he is in a hurry to see her again. 
At this time, Nastasia Filippovna anxiously awaits the evening in her room – today is her name day and she has to announce whether she will marry Ganya Ivolgin. Afanasy Totsky, whose mistress she used to be, strongly supports this marriage. Being in St. Petersburg, Nastasya Philippovna compromises him, preventing him from getting married. So her marriage would set him free.. Ganya Ivolgin begs her to say if she is prepared to marry him. But she will give her response later when the guests arrive. She gives Ganya her portrait.

Scene 2. At the Epanchins’ 
In his study, General Epanchin and Afanasy Ivanovich Totsky are discussing the fate of Nastasia Filippovna, Totsky’s kept woman. They are resolved to have her married off to Gavril Ivolgin, for his marriage to the “fallen” woman, Ganya will be generously rewarded – Totsky will advance her a large sum of money. If it happens, he will be able to marry Aglaya, Yepanchin’s daughter 
Prince Myshkin has arrived to meet his only relatives in St Petersburg, the Epanchin family. The general is little pleased with his visitor who has no plans for the future or means to live. Ganya enters;he shows them a portrait of Nastasia Filippovna which she gave to him. The prince is amazed:“A beautiful and mysterious face, and her destiny is an unusual one.” 
General Epanchin leaves his visitor with his wife and daughters Aglaya, Alexandra and Adelaida. They are enchanted with Myshkin’s stories about life in Switzerland. The prince read human faces; he describes the character of each of the Yepanchins, but when it comes to Aglaya, he is silent for a while before saying: “You have a rare beauty ... Almost like Nastasya Philippovna”. 
Ganya asks the prince to give Aglaya a letter in which he confirms that at one word from her he will break off the engagement. Instead of a response the girl asks the prince to write a phrase in her album – “I don’t stoop to trading” and returns his note. Ganya is furious. Meanwhile Rogozhin borrows a hundred thousand roubles to buy Nastasya Philippovna. Accompanied by a crowd of usurers, he goes to Ganya

Scene 3. At the Ivolgins’ 
The Ivolgins gather in the drawing room. Varya, Ganya’s sister, is horrified – he plans to marry a dissolute woman whom he, moreover, does not love. Nastasia Filippovna herself appears. Her meeting with the prince, whom she initially thought to be a servant, amazes her. A drunken crowd comes in, led by Rogozhin – he tries to outbid Ganya and then Nastasia Filippovna in order to prevent the marriage. The deal is broken off amid a scene of scandal – Ganya attempts to hit Varya who is incensed at all that has happened but the prince stops him.

Scene 4. Day of the Angel 
General Epanchin, Lebedev, Totsky and Ganya are visiting Nastasia Filippovna. Unexpectedly for all present, the prince appears. The name-day girl asks him whether she should marry Ivolgin – and he says no. “That’s how it should be,” she concludes. It is clear to her that Ganya was led only by self-interest. Rogozhin enters; he has brought the hundred thousand he had promised. The prince proposes that Nastasia Filippovna marry him, stating that her life is not over, that she is guilty of nothing and that, quite the reverse, she is a victim. She is prepared to break up with her past and ‘set Totsky free for nothing’. It turns out that the prince has inherited a great fortune. Nastasya Philippovna feels happy about the prince’s proposal: she believes that he is the only one to understand her nature. But she cannot agree to the marriage – it seems to her that any such union will destroy the prince. She takes the money from Rogozhin, throws it into the fire and orders Ganya to take it out. He faints.Rogozhin and Nastasia Filippovna depart.


Act II 
Scene 5. At Rogozhin’s 
Six months later. The prince had an affair with Nastasya Philippovna and then broke up with her. Now she lives with Rogozhin. 
The prince has come to Rogozhin. Parfyon is convinced that Nastasia Filippovna, who lives with him, is in love with the prince alone. Myshkin convinces him that he is not a rival – he is driven only by pity. The prince and Rogozhin fraternise. In the gateway the prince falls senseless.

Scene 6. The Faithful Knight 
In Lebedev’s country house, the prince recovers from his seizure.The Epanchins arrive to visit him. Aglaya sings a ballad about “The Poor Knight”, but the proposal that she might marry Prince Myshkin drives her furious. The prince is forced to explain that he had no intention to ask for Aglaya’s hand.Mrs Epachkin laments – how hard it is to be the mother of grown-up daughters!

Scene 7. Two Meetings 
Aglaya has appointed a meeting with the prince in the park. She wants to elope from home and begs his assistance. Yet the notion that the prince has lived with Nastasia Filippovna perturbs her – and now this unknown woman is writing her letters, persuading her to marry the prince. In disarray, Aglaya flees. Nastasia Filippovna appears. All is decided – she will marry Rogozhin and only wishes to know if prince Myshkin is happy.

Scene 8. Lebedev’s Confession 
The Epachins are in disarray: they have received news that the prince is Aglaya’s fiancé. At their request to provide a definite answer if he has asked her hand the prince confirms all. Lebedev informs the prince that Aglaya is meeting Nastasia Filippovna. “Evil rules the world. And gold as well,” he confirms in response to the prince’s past musings. The prince and Aglaya go to Nastasya Philippovna. Aglaya wants to take her rival down a peg.

Scene 9. The Rivals 
The prince and Aglaya are with Nastasia Filippovna. Being determined to protect the prince from Nastasya Philippovna, Aglaya asks her to stop writing letters and trying to interfere in their lives. ‘You’re a coward! You’re jealous! You’re afraid of me!’ Nastasya Philippovna replies. Now the prince has to make a choice – and the prince, unable to overcome his suffering, remains with Nastasia Filippovna. But their marriage never truly took place: the bride flees from the ceremony to Rogozhin.

Scene 10. Reconciliation 
Nastasia Filippovna is dead, Rogozhin has killed her. The prince who has come to see him learns of the murder.






Schedule for Mieczyslaw Weinberg "The Idiot" Opera in four acts 2017/2018


"The Idiot" opera premiere!
 
About This Video
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Mieczyslaw Weinberg
"The Idiot"
Opera in four acts


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