28 December 2012, 18:23

Massenet`s Don Quixote premiers at the Mariinsky

Massenet`s Don Quixote premiers at the Mariinsky

Jules Massenet`s opera Don Quixote returns to the Russian stage after a 90-year pause with the first night taking place at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg tonight.

The composer defined his opera ascomédie-héroïque.

Staged by Greek director Yannis Kokkos, the production stars Italian bassFerruccio Furlanetto. Since the opera was composed especially for Fyodor Shalyapin, who debuted as Don Quixote in 1910, there is certainly a touch of Russianness on the production. It was Shalyapin who made up the main character`s image: pointed beard, a funny fringe and a tall figure with thin legs. Yannis Kokkos says that he views the Spanish Don Quixote through the lens of Dostoyevsky`s Prince Myshkin, who symbolizes ‘absolute kindness’.Ferruccio Furlanetto also feels the Russianness of the production. He likens the rehearsals for Don Quixote to those he had while preparing for Mussorgsky`s Boris Godunov…

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The Mariinsky`s production of Don Quixote has had several concert performances in the past two years. The company`s artistic director and chief conductor Valery Gergiev included the opera in the program of his annual Moscow Easter festival and the White Stars festival in Saint Petersburg, as well as in the Shalyapin festival in Kazan. The theatre also made a studio recording of Don Quixote for its own label Mariinsky which has been nominated for Grammy. The London-based Gramophone magazine says that the recording proved that Gergiev`s orchestra and choir are at their best. The Philadelphia Inquirer daily described the Mariinsky`s Don Quixote as a long-awaited and high quality opera production. It`s been the 15th recording made for the Mariinsky label, and Maestro Gergiev is proud about it: “The list of the recordings made for the Mariinsky label is extending. We can distribute our CDs in at least 100 countries. We have managers dealing with the issue in Asia, North America, Europe and New Zealand, as well as in Australia and South America. Our recordings see the light of the day just a week late comparing to the release of CDs in London or Paris.

Now the Mariinsky Theater has two Don Quixote productions- the one is legendary ballet by Ludwig Minkus, while the other is revived Massenet`s opera of the same name.


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