Moscow Opera in the Spring

moscowoperaThere is no doubt that the upcoming spring season is a real gift for opera lovers in Moscow. First of all, the Bolshoi Theatre is offering a renewed programme after a magnificent renovation. On February 15th, for example, there is a unique chance to enjoy Claude Debussy’s ‘Pelléas et Mélisande,’ in a production that has come all the way from the northern capital’s Mariinsky Theatre. Debussy reveals the drama through the internal experiences of the heroes, not through dynamic action on the stage. This is something the director gives credit to, by assuming that ideally the opera should not give any hint about time and particular place. He has let the music play a predominant role.

A few days later, the Bolshoi will host another guest performance, again in French — “Les contes d`Hoffmann”. Following in close succession is ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ that proved to be the most epic and massively popular show last autumn and ‘Turandot’ – famous for its unforgettable costumes. All of these operas will run on the main stage.

Parsifal

Parsifal

The trick with the Bolshoi is never to do what everybody else does and buy tickets from agents. The best way is to go personally to the cashier in the theater at least two weeks in advance with a passport and get the best seats for no more than EUROS 80. The passport is necessary because it gives the theatre a guarantee that you are not going to resell the tickets and need them for personal use only.

For those who would prefer to stick to classical forms of opera but hardly have time to buy tickets in advance there is always the Stanislavskiy theater in Bolshaya Dmitrovka street. This theatre has a smaller stage, and puts on different but no less spectacular versions of your favourite operas. Splashy premieres aside, it is enough to arrive just 2 hours in advance to get good seats for a ridiculous EUROS 10.

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Giulius Ceasare

Together with English National Opera, in February, the Stanislavskiy theatre proudly presents ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to the music of Benjamin Britten. There is another reason to visit this relatively small theater – its main star, or Diva. It doesn’t really matter what opera is running – ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, ‘La Traviata’ or ‘Tosca’, if you see the name Hibla Gerzmava in the cast, you may well be pleasantly pleased by the strong yet velvety voice of a truly remarkable soloist.

Francesca da Rimini

Francesca da Rimini

She has performed on the stages of Paris, Florence, Vienna, Sofia, Tokyo, New York, London and Munich and earned the highest Russian awards: the Golden Mask, as well as the Casta Diva Award and the Moscow Government Award for achievement and contribution to the world of Arts and culture. Her charisma, charm, incredible talent and a breathtaking career are reminiscent of another Diva – Anna Netrebko. Hopefully Gerzmava will stay part of the Russia cultural heritage in spite of numerous offers from abroad. The loss of her after Anna Netrebko left in 2006 would be simply unbearable.

And last but not the least; this season presents somewhat of an unusual opera-viewing opportunity. You can enjoy famous productions without traveling to the Metropolitan NY; by watching splendid shows LIVE in HD in several local movie theaters (they all belong to the chain ‘Formula Kino’ which makes the process of buying electronic ticket easier). Four masterpieces are waiting audiences in the spring – ‘Rigoletto’ (its director Michael Mayer has placed Verdi’s towering tragedy in Las Vegas in 1960), the immortal ‘Parsifal’, ‘Francesca da Rimini’ (inspired by an episode from Dante’s Inferno) and ‘Giulio Cesare’.

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Despite of the fact that you will be watching the shows on the big screen with Dolby Digital Surround, the operatic atmosphere will remain the same. There will be gallant opera lovers sharing their artistic impressions during the intermission. During the intermission, viewers virtually go backstage and listen to interviews with the cast. The longest show takes almost five and a half hours (no surprise as this is Wagner), but if you choose the cozy hall of Strela cinema, you can press special buttons to call waiters whilst you recline in most comfortable horizontal chairs.