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BWW Review: MAZEPPA - Opera Blockbuster at Bolshoi Theatre

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'Mazeppa' in Bolshoi Theatre

BWW Review: MAZEPPA - Opera Blockbuster at Bolshoi Theatre

Recently the Bolshoi Theatre presented Tchaikovsky's three acts opera "Mazeppa", based on Pushkin's poem "Poltava", part of cultural legacy of Mazeppa. Pushkin took some creative freedom in order to create powerful characters and grand passions. The opera was composed between June 1881 and April 1883. It combines tragedy and soulful lyricism. For the first time "Mazeppa" was staged in the Bolshoi Theater in 1884, then different stage adaptations were constantly appearing in the repertoire.

In 2020, the soloists of the Bolshoi Theater under the direction of Tugan Sokhiev presented the opera in a concert performance. Now the stage version of Tchaikovsky will appear on the theater poster. At a press-conference the stage director Evgeny Pisarev (an Artistic Director of the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre since July 4th, 2010) mentioned that this opera is so important not only because the opera as an art is finally coming back to the Historic Stage of the theatre but also as a cultural event, given the COVID-19 pandemic in the world today.

For Evgeny Pisarev this will be the third performance in Bolshoi and the first on the Historic stage. Previously, also in conjunction with the stage designer Zinovy Margolin, he staged Le Nozze di Figaro by W.A. Mozart (William Lacey as a conductor, 2015, nominated for The Golden Mask award for the best director's work) and Il Barbiere di Siviglia by G. Rossini (Pier Giorgio Morandi as a conductor, 2018).

Evgeny Pisarev in his own words:

"To be honest, I am a comedy director, so the Bolshoi's invitation to direct the darkest opera by Tchaikovsky was a big surprise for me, this gave me the opportunity to expand the scope of my possibilities. After Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Le Nozze di Figaro, which were met with great success by the public the theatre management clarified what exactly they would like me to direct and I was offered this opera. In addition to the genre that is also a performance on Historic stage, on a large scale, not many Russian directors can master it. This is an opera blockbuster, I would compare this performance with a historical film of a Hollywood scale. Maybe because the stage designer Zinovy Margolin and I juggled a bit with a time period, to some extent it came out quite cinematic. Having started this work, I really wanted to bring this story closer to the audience as no matter if the artists are also excellent singers, it still remains an artificial story. That is why I would like to bring the story closer to us, to recognize these people, bring them closer to the present day. I liked that these characters could be close to us. Moreover, we currently exist in a neverending war conflict nowadays".

The premiere was held on June 23, 2021

Historic Stage


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