From Moscow with grandeur

‘Prince Igor,’ which tells the story of the campaign of a Russian prince gainst the invading Polovtsian tribes in 1185, graces the stage of the Israeli Opera.

By MAXIM REIDER
September 25, 2013 10:49
3 minute read.
‘Prince Igor’ graces the stage of the Israeli Opera

‘Prince Igor’ graces the stage of the Israeli Opera. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The Israeli Opera opens its new season with a production of Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin, October 2 - 13.

The opera, which tells the story of the campaign of Russian prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Polovtsian tribes in 1185, is presented by the Kolobov Novaya Opera Theater of Moscow.

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Scores of soloists, choristers and dancers will perform Borodin’s sweeping masterpiece, which features the ever-popular “Polovtsian Dances.” Not to be missed.

The company was founded by Russian conductor Evgeny Kolobov and was regarded as revolutionary at the time. After his death, new management came with artistic ideas of their own, but the theater still maintains a solid reputation.

Andjey Beletsky, a baritone with an impressive international career, will perform the title role of the Russian prince. Born into a musical family (his mother is a pianist, his father was a singer, and his grandfather a multifaceted musician), he started playing piano at the age of four and at 12 already performed in public, playing with the Tula Philharmonic Orchestra. Later, moving with his family to Moscow, he was accepted to GITIS, the country’s leading theater school. Today, he performs in his native Russia and throughout the world in operatic and liturgical repertoires.

“Verdi is my favorite Western composer,” says Beletsky in an interview from his Moscow home.

“I have what is called a ‘Verdian baritone’ and perform in all of Verdi’s productions in Moscow. I am also the only Rigoletto performer in Moscow, due to special qualities of my vocal instrument. I also sing major roles in such Russian dramatic operas as Boris Godunov, Prince Igor and The Czar’s Bride,” he says.



“For the stage director Yuri Alexandrov, this opera is about the conflict between two political systems. He openly says that he does not see his country’s future in a positive light. In the finale, there’s no celebration. Igor returns home ruined, defeated, almost as a drunkard, homeless, and dies, together with his wife. Probably for the director, Yeltsin was the protagonist for Igor,” he says.

The show was created two years ago and is always sold out.

“This is an impressive and colorful show, and the audience appreciates the director’s approach, which is both innovative and tactful,” he says.

“Musically speaking, Alexandrov has left the score almost intact, so for me as a singer it’s OK, although in his directorial rendition there are contradicting aspects in Igor’s character, which I am unable to understand. He is his people’s leader and a powerful army commander but at the same time a weak, broken person. I wonder how that goes together.

But again, I believe that the director and his team know what this is all about, and I perform the role most devotedly.”

Beletsky confides that despite his local and international success, his family is the most important thing to him and is the major achievement in his life.

“My wife and I have two daughters. They study piano, and we invest a lot of time and effort in their music education. I am a devoted son – maybe overly devoted as some people say – but my mother’s well-being is of utmost importance to me. She was very sick recently, and I gave up an invitation from a major Italian opera theater, which could have significantly helped my career. But I thought I needed to be by my mother’s side and take care of her. That is how I was brought up. I recently learned that my both parents are Jewish. My father revealed it to me when he was dying, and so did my mother – she thought she was fatally ill.

They had good reasons to hide it.

This understanding of my Jewish roots has explained a lot about my life – my choice of teachers and friends and many other things. I believe that family comes first, but it is worth it.”

Beletsky planned to come to perform Israel in the past with a concert program, but it did not work out.

“But now it happening, and I am looking forward to seeing the land of my ancestors, to breathe the air of this land.

Prince Igor will be performed at TAPAC from October 2 to 13. More details at www.israel-opera.co.il.

For reservations: (02) 692-7777

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