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09 June 2016 (Thu), 18:30 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera Theatre - Opera and Concert Hall - Opera Rodion Shchedrin "Boyarina Morozova" Russian choral opera in two parts for four soloists, mixed chorus, trumpet, kettledrums and percussion

Schedule for Rodion Shchedrin "Boyarina Morozova" Russian choral opera in two parts for four soloists, mixed chorus, trumpet, kettledrums and percussion 2018

Bass: Sergei Alexashkin
Conductor: Andrei Petrenko
Tenor: Stanislav Leontiev
Mezzo soprano: Yekaterina Sergeyeva
Soprano: Violetta Lukyanenko

Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Composer: Rodion Shchedrin

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Opera in 2 acts

Performed in Russian, with synchronised English supertitles

Premiere of this production: 22 June 2014, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

Rodion Shchedrin. Opera "Boyar Morozova." (2006)
Russian choral opera in two parts.
Libretto by the composer.
Characters: Boyar Morozova
Duchess Urusova
archpriest Habakkuk
Tsar Alexis

In Rodion Shchedrins biography, the genre of opera was long on the peripheries, the composer but rarely turning to it at intervals of ten to fifteen years. It was only in the 21st century when he produced three operas The Enchanted Wanderer (2002), Boyarina Morozova (2006) and The Lefthander (20122013) that Shchedrin came to the forefront of contemporary opera composers. This occurred, of course, not just because of the quantity of works but, first and foremost, because of the artistic merits of these opuses. In his operas, Shchedrin turns to eternal themes important for Russia: the meaning of human existence, life, its values and worth, the soul and faith, Russia, its people and the authorities, its fortunes and its misfortunes.

Boyarina Morozova (the full title is The Life and Sufferings of Boyarina Morozova and Her Sister Princess Urusova) is a Russian choral opera in two parts for four soloists, mixed chorus, trumpet, kettledrums and percussion. The libretto was written by Shchedrin himself after The Life of Boyarina Morozova, Princess Urusova and Maria Danilova, The Hagiography of the Archpriest Avvakum, the letters of Avvakum to his parishioners Morozova and Urusova and his Lament for Three Confessors. Shchedrin considered the concept of this opera for many years, though as he himself admits the key to its embodiment came only when the operas choral slant became defined (which, in turn, led to a rejection of the orchestra).

Shchedrin sees the 17th century Hagiography as Russias Passions, and thus there is a logical association with the most outstanding examples of that genre such as Johann Sebastian Bachs Passions. The similarities lie first and foremost in the use of the chorus as a co-participant in the action (repeating the evil and cruel words of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and other persecutors of the heroines not mentioned in the opera) and as a commentator and witness that pities the poor victims. A parallel may be drawn with another famous work Vasily Surikovs painting Boyarina Morozova (1887), for many years the only response in Russian art to this tragic story. As in the opera, in Surikovs painting all the people are co-participants in the event the curious, those triumphing over the boyarina and those pitying her. But in his depiction of the image of the female protagonist, the famous Old Believer Feodosia Morozova, Shchedrin remains independent both from the artists interpretation and from the portrait drawn in the tale and the works of Avvakum. With Surikov this is depicted as adamantine spirit and fanatical belief. Avvakums description of the boyarina is like poetry: Your fingers are delicate, your eyes blaze with lightning and you attack your enemies like a lion. The image of Morozova is most multifaceted in the Hagiography: she appears as a saint as well as a normal person, even experiencing fear (Feodosia was terrified to understand that the torturers were coming...). Shchedrin himself selects only the main features of her character: courage, resolution in faith and love and tenderness for her sister and son. Since its premiere in October 2006 at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire the opera Boyarina Morozova has yet to be staged as a production. One possible reason is the distinctly oratorical nature of the work which demands a highly particular and radical directing approach. It is unlikely that Boyarina Morozova can expect an easy future on the stage, but there is no doubt that this work may already be considered one of the finest operas of the early 21st century.
Vladimir Goryachikh

Schedule for Rodion Shchedrin "Boyarina Morozova" Russian choral opera in two parts for four soloists, mixed chorus, trumpet, kettledrums and percussion 2018

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