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Rodion Shchedrin "Enchanted wanderer" concert opera for three solo voices, chorus and orchestra
Performed in Russian (with synchronised English supertitles)
World premiere: Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Premiere of this production: 26 Jul 2008
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Music by Rodion Shchedrin
Libretto by the composer after the novel by Nikolai Leskov The Enchanted Wanderer
Performed in Russian with synchronised English supertitles
The Performance without interval
Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Vocal Preparation: Natalia Domskaya
World premiere: 19 December 2002, Avery Fisher Hall, New York
Russian premiere: 10 July 2007, Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Premiere of this production: 26 July 2008, Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Materials presented by the publishers «SCHOTT», Mainz
Running time 1 hours 35 minutes
The performance without interval
In his story of the novice of the Valaam Monastery Ivan Severianovich Flyagin, where the main subject is his love for Grusha the gypsy girl who loves not him but rather the frivolous Prince and later begs Flyagin to kill her, Shchedrin avoids traditional operatic approaches. Here there are neither developed scenes as such nor sweet love duets, but there is an aural continuum of impossible beauty in which vocal and choral voices are blended together, underscored by a thousand different orchestral timbres, from the shepherd-like folk tunes of the oboe that tear at the soul to the laconic guslis, tender block flutes and, as always with Shchedrin, the glittering percussion. Also enchanting in The Wanderer was the countless number of shades of silence – melting, lulling, oppressive, terrifying, thoughtful: Shchedrin is one of few composers who have the skill to construct music not just from notes but from pauses too.
… The famous gypsy song Nevechernyaya, performed by Grushenka-Kapustinskaya to the refined accompaniment of the muted strings, resounds, like a peaceful requiem, as a funereal premonition-hymn of a tragic destiny. And at the other “pole” there is the scene of Tatar captivity, addressing both Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances and Stravinsky’s ballets – and the performance with incredible energy, “proprietarily” ascribed only to Gergiev… It bears repeating the axiom that the Mariinsky Theatre’s musicians and their conductor are on brilliant professional form today… The chorus deserves particular praise, under Gergiev’s baton sounding fresh and resilient yet at the same time powerful, a rare thing indeed.
Ivan Severyanovich Flyagin, a novice at the monastery in Valaam, is reminiscing about former days. Before renouncing the material world, he once accidentally whipped a monk to death. The monk appeared in a vision, reproaching Ivan for taking his life before he could make his final confession. He told Ivan Severyanovich that he was Godґs "promised" son and that he would die but never pass on until real "death" comes, so Ivan enters the monastery on the island of Valaam. And although Ivan Severyanovich did not believe in it, the monkґs prophesy came true. While on his travels, Ivan was captured by the Tatars and lived with them for ten years in Ryn-peski. He managed to flee from them, met with some shepherds on his way back to his native land and entered the service of a Prince, who admired him for his skill with horses. But after three years of devoted service Ivan Severyanovich took to drinking binges. At an inn, Flyagin met a landowner with the gift of hypnosis. The same night in another inn Ivan Severyanovich spent all the money entrusted to him by the Prince on Grusha, a beautiful gypsy songstress.
When the Prince demands his five thousand roubles, Flyagin shows remorse and relates his tale of the beautiful gypsy. Having fallen in love with Grusha, the Prince paid her immense dowry of fifty thousand gold roubles and took her home with him. But the Prince is a fickle man and he soon tired of Grusha. During his trip to town, Ivan found out that his master planned to marry a rich noblewoman and, returning home, could not find the gypsy girl: the Prince secretly removed her to the swampy woodlands. But Grusha escaped her incarceration, met Flyagin and forced him to take a dreadful oath – to kill her, otherwise she would kill the unfaithful Prince and his young bride. In order to carry out Grushaґs request, Ivan Severyanovich throws her into a river from a cliff top. The chorus mourns her death. In his visions Ivan Severyanovich Flyagin hears the voices of the monk and the gypsy girl Grusha whom he murdered.
1 Theatre Square
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street