FLYING DUTCHMAN IN BOLSHOI - FIRST TIME IN 40 YEARS

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MOSCOW, June 20 - RIA Novosti. On Sunday the Bolshoi Theater is presenting Richard Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman for the first time in the last four decades.

An executive with the Bolshoi Theater said that the opera would be played on the new stage.

"The Flying Dutchman will be the last premiere of the 228th season. We see it differently in many respects. First, this is the first play staged jointly by the Bolshoi and by the Bayern State Opera. Second, this [opera] will hopefully be a culmination of the Year of German Culture in Russia," Bolshoi chief executive Anatoly Iksanov said.

According to Iksanov, the Bolshoi approved of stage master Peter Konvichny's being appointed to stage the Dutchman. In Germany Konvichny was five times named best opera stage master. Although having staged quite a few operas, he had never dealt with the Dutchman before.

Konvichny told reporters he was very happy to work in Russia and in the Bolshoi Theater. "Here I feel great friendliness and sincerity, and I feel no principal difference between working here and at home. I think working in Russia is very important because this helps us get to know each other better, and knowing and understanding each other better helps one get rid of one's old prejudices," the stage master said.

He remarked that the Flying Dutchman is a powerful opera which Wagner wrote when he was 28. He said his goal was to "tell the audience the core philosophic message of this outstanding opera."

Bolshoi's Music Director Alexander Vedernikov said that the original edition of the opera would be presented in Russia for the first time.

Anatoly Iksanov in response to RIA Novosti's question summed up for the 228th season and described it as "rather successful and intensive."

"We were able to stage four operas and three ballets. We engaged young choreographers - thus they have made what I call a program commitment - as well as top stage masters, ballet-masters, and soloists," Bolshoi's chief executive said.

The next Bolshoi's season will be the last one before the main stage is closed for reconstruction on May 11, 2005.

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