THE COMPANY of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride performance at the the Israel Opera House.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, performed by the Moscow Kolobov Novaya Opera at the Israeli Opera, contains all the ingredients of Grand Opera: love, jealousy, intrigues, murder; love potion, not comic as in Donizetti’s Elisir d’Amore, but tragic as in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and madness as in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor – all of them through a magnifying glass.
There is much to be learned from Yuri Grymov’s direction and Vladimir Maximov’s set. How to construct a modernist-abstract stage that leaves much to the audience’s imagination without becoming sophisticated as in current European trends; how to become dramatic without overdone kitschy theatricality; how to cast singers according to their hero(ine)’s characters – all these were eye-opening, refreshing operatic experiences. Deplorably missing was tension and interaction between the actors/ singers, facing the audience and not their partners most of the time.
Particularly noteworthy among the many singers was Andjey Beletsky, whose dark-timbred baritone, as Gryaznoy, fulfilled all one’s expectations from a Russian male voice. Aleksey Neklyadov’s lovable lyric tenor, as Lykov, made one understand Marfa’s infatuation with him.
In the role of Lyubasha, Anna Victorova’s emotion- charged mezzo-soprano made one sympathize with her despite her evildoings. As Marfa, Galina Koloreva’s bright, clear soprano sounded heartrendingly intense without undue increase of volume on the high notes. In her Mad Scene she mercifully abstained from exaggerated theatricality.
The Kolobov Opera Chorus lived up to the reputation of Russian choirs with its powerfully resounding, meticulously accurate voices.
Conducted by Valery Kriskov, the Kolobov Opera Orchestra persuasively contributed drama,