The tale of Snow White first appeared a very long time ago, and there are countless variations of it. The most famous is the story of the beautiful daughter of a king, rescued by dwarfs in a forest, saving her from the evil intentions of her stepmother who possesses a magic mirror – that tale comes from the Brothers Grimm. Russia has a similar version, The Tale of the Dead Tsarevna and the Seven Bogatyrs, written by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. Yet another “Snow White” came from the pen of Alexandre Dumas, author of Les Trois Mousquetaires. In the 20th century there was to come the eponymous Oscar-winning cartoon by Walt Disney. In turning to an age-old plot, each creator interprets it in his or her own way, adding interesting details or introducing new characters.
Lev Ustinov and Oleg Tabakov’s play for children Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was written for a production at the Sovremennik Theatre in Moscow. Sometime after that it was used as the basis for the eponymous musical tale by Eduard Kolmanovsky. Its premiere took place in 1966 at the Children’s Musical Theatre, which was directed by Natalia Sats. A composer of music for theatre and film as well as many songs popular at the time (I Love You, Life..., Do Russians Want War? and I Work as a Magician), Eduard Kolmanovsky is known to children first and foremost for his music for the cartoon films The Ugly Duckling, Hazel Twig and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
At the Mariinsky Theatre, Kolmanovsky’s version of Snow White can be seen at the Prokofiev Hall in a production directed by Alla Chepinoga. Her works (productions of The Turnip, The Silly Little Mouse, Terem-Teremok and the most recent premiere of the opera Chukokkala-1) find lively responses in even the very youngest audiences at the Mariinsky Theatre.
“Audiences can be expected to be transported to the Middle Ages. The Narrator-Minstrel will relate to children the story of the modest Snow White, the brave Young Leader who opposes the wicked Queen (the same one who never tires of looking into the magic mirror to know if she is fairest of them all), and the wise dwarfs who have secret knowledge. Our production, adorned with the delightful music of Eduard Kolmanovsky, teaches children about responsibility and kindness, the ability to make peace and make allies with the most diverse characters,” says Alla Chepinoga.