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Conductor: Maxim Valkov
Directed by: Yuri Alexandrov
Saint Petersburg State Chamber Music Theater "Opera of Saint Petersburg" is known as one of the best music theaters in Russia and beyond its borders. The founder and permanent artistic director of the theater, the People’s Artist of Russia Yuri Alexandrov, is known for his creative experiments and unexpected directing solutions.
The Opera of Saint Petersburg actively performs on tours. Over the past six months, the theater has had guest performances in France, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Azerbaijan. It has participated in the Third Russian Festival of Music Theatres of Russia See the Music (Moscow), the Russian Festival of Volga Theater Season (Samara), the Saint Petersburg Theater Festival – for Children (Saint Petersburg).
The theater has received a number of awards and merit prizes. Thus, in the previous season, the premiere performance of Faust was awarded with the highest theater award of Saint Petersburg the Golden Soffit in four nominations.
The International Theater Tour, opened in the new theater season by performing in Nice, continues in Serbia.
This time two performances, awarded with the highest theater award of Saint Petersburg Golden Soffit and directed by the People’s Artist Yuri Alexandrov, will be performed in front of the Serbian audience:
8 May 2019 – The Pearl Fishers by G. Bizet (on the stage of the National Theatre in Belgrade)
10 May 2019 – Faust by C. Gounod (on the stage of the Opera & Theatre Madlenianum)
The tour of the theater is being held within the 150th anniversary of the National Theater in Belgrade and the 20th anniversary of the Opera & Theater Madlenianum.
In its thirtieth, jubilee, season, The St. Petersburg Chamber Opera for the first time turned to the works by Charles Gounod. In his modern, expressive version of the classical opera director Yuri Alexandrov deals with the philosophical issues of being, the man’s vocation, and the confrontation of hell and heaven, responding vividly and passionately to today's world events.
Yuri Alexandrov about the production of Faust: "Over the past decades we have witnessed a lot of attempts to zombify people. Many world regimes have tried to subdue human mind and soul. This happened during the Communism period, and, to some extent, is happening now. Just look at today’s information wars. People around the world are brainwashed in various ways. The invasion in human consciousness, the attempt to create a new Frankenstein - that's what I see in the story of Faust. Obviously, this topic is very urgent and very important for me, so we will analyze it scrupulously. Gounod composed great music, and we took care of it. We did change the sequence of scenes in our performance. But this does not mean that the cut down the performance. In my version we emphasize all personal experiences of the characters. However, we are not trying to impose new personal qualities on the characters, we stick to the original."
Music: Charles Gounod
Libretto: Jules Barbier
Michel Carré after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part I
Production: Yuri Alexandrov
Conductor: Maxim Valkov
Set and Costume Designer: Vyacheslav Okunev
Lighting Designer: Irina Vtornikova
Directors: Tatyana Karpacheva
Musical Preparation: Yana Zubova
Chorus Master: Maria Gergel
Choreographer: Nadezhda Kalinina
Video-art: Daniil Bakalin
The Doctor Faust story is one of the most enigmatic stories of West European culture. The first historical data on Faust originate from 1507, and the first literary processing of the legend appeared in 1599.
Faust is a powerful embodiment of craving for life, but he also appears as a student - wizard, and as a wandering scientist, hanging out with the devil and as a man acquainted with alchemy secrets, the law science and magic.
Throughout the centuries, Faust and "Faustianism" have attracted poets, artists, musicians and philosophers, being interpreted and evaluated in a variety of ways.
A large number of works have been created on this topic. Goethe, Marlo, Lesing, Klinger, Lenau, Schumann, Leaf, Wagner, Maler, Delakroa - are just some of the names from the grandiose “Bibliotheca Fаustiana".
It was in the 20. century, when "Faustianism", as one of the myths of West European culture, was exposed to sharp criticism, that the masterpieces, such as Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann and The History of Doctor Johann Faust by Alfred Schnittke appeared.
The classic character of Faust was created by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. He wrote the first version of Faust in the period from 1773 to 1775, but only after thirty years of work on the play did Goethe published its first part, containing the story about Faust before Marguerite’s death. This part is revived in the music of Gounod, whose opera was originally called Marguerite.
The idea of the opera based on the plot of Goethe’s Faust turned up in 1839, but only after seventeen years did Gounod start working on this idea of his. Librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré joined this work with great enthusiasm (in Russian, Faust was translated by V. Vronchenko, E. Guber, B. Pasternak, etc.). In the course of creating music, it was heard that the Faust melodrama was supposed to appear on the stage of a Parisian theater, and the Director of the Lyrical Theater, to whom Gounod offered his opera, for fear of competition, gave up the opera staging.
Insted, he ordered from the composer the new opera based on the plot of Molière’s masterpiece The Doctor in Spite of Himself (1858), but Gounod continued working on Faust.
Faust was premiered on 19 March 1859 in Paris. The first performances did not come to great success, but the opera gradually gained popularity - by the end of the season in 1859, it had been performed 57 times. Faust was originally written with speech dialogues, but in 1869, as to be set on the stage of Parisian Grand Opera, Gounod replaced the dialogues with melodic recitative and subsequently wrote the ballet scene Walpurgis Night. In this version, the opera has become firmly established in the repertoire of world theaters. Since then, the story of Faust has no precedent ... The opera was premiered in Germany in 1861 in Darmstadt, in 1862 in La Scala, in 1863 it had English premier in the Theater of Her Majesty, and in the same year it was staged in Covent Garden. On the American continent Faust was first performed in 1873 in New York. In fact, it was the opera performance which opened the famous Metropolitan Theatre in 1883.
In Russia Faust was premiered the first time in 1863 by an Italian troupe. On the Russian scene, the opera was first staged in 1866 in Bolshoi Theatre in the honor of A. Alexandrova who performed in the role of Marguerite. The same year the opera was performed in the Mariinsky Theater (F.Komisarzhevski - Faust, J.Lavrovskaya - Marguerite, G.Kondratjev - Méphistophélès). One of the great Mephistopheles was also the famous Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938).
About the performance
... Life and Death, Ascent and Fall, God and Devil….
These universal categories have been following humanity since its existence ... Today we have reconciled with the fact that for someone life can be hell, and death-the desired release from suffering …
... The science of the 21st century is ready for cloning, successful experiments enable organ replacement and, in special cases, conservation, by freezing of a friable body, so that after a long period of time it could be replaced by someone else’s - new, energetic and muscular, without thinking that the human body is not an old suitcase, but a home for the Soul, breathed by the Lord, and that only the Soul is immortal, and that dying is natural process as well as the birth is, as a wonder of motherhood and a great secret of love ...
... Our hero - Faust is ready to pay any price for another youth, not thinking that by violating natural laws we drag Nature and ourselves into an infinite chain of crimes, and consciousness about it can come late, too late. ....
... And that the main battle is fought for our souls, because it is much easier to manage people without memory, love, faith and hope. To zombie mankind, turning it into a submissive flock - the devilish idea of the Lord of Hell! And maybe we should not console ourselves with the thought that the satan is somewhere there, far away, in an old coat, with an elegant sword and a hat with a feather?
Perhaps he is already here among us - charming, energetic, seductive and almighty, the one who bestows healing, and all of us are just patients?
... Who are we? How should we live? How to continue being people? What kind of world have we been creating?
... Mankind has been given the great right – the right to choose their path... The heroes of this play– Faust, Marguerite, Valentin, Siébel, Marthe, Wagner - choose their paths...
You should also choose your path– my dear audience...