On September, 14 2016 the 45th season of the Moscow Chamber opera theatre named after Boris Pokrovsky started. On September, 13 the director of theatre, Oleg Mikhailov and his chief stage director Mikhail Kislyarov told about what happens in the theatre and about the plans for the upcoming theatrical season.
The season is opened with an important and significant premiere – “Servilia” by N. Rimsky-Korsakov, telling of the valiant Christians of the Roman Empire, who experienced persecution for their faith in pagan times. This rarely performed opera of the great Russian composer was staged by the Theatre’s musical director Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who revived the production in the style of Christian spirituality and in the background of the ancient decorations. For “Servilia” the theater has completely transformed the room, giving it the appearance of a classical theater. The theater’s hall was decorated in the manner of ancient theater for this performance.
An offering of the theatre for the 110th anniversary of D. D. Shostakovich, “The Nose” opera staged by B. Pokrovsky will happen on September, 23 and “Bigots. Symphony of despair” directed by M. Kislyarov will take place on September, 25 and 27. We wrote about the latter: “A premiere of Bigots was held In the Pokrovsky theatre“.
On October, 26 in the framework of “To see the music” festival a production of “A fox-cheat” by Janachek will take place.
The 125th anniversary of Sergei Prokofiev will be marked by a resumption of the children’s play “Peter and the wolf” directed by Boris Pokrovsky (on December 3 and 4 2016).
On December, 17 and 18 2016, another outstanding premiere to begin in the theater – “Orpheus and Eurydice” by C. W. Gluck and edited by G. Berlioz, directed by G. Rozhdestvensky and M. Kislyarov.
In January 2017, a Festival of performances by Boris Pokrovsky will take place, and in March, the premiere of the Opera “Mercy of Tit” by Mozart will be held (directed by I. Solzhenitsyn and M. Kislyarov).
In economically difficult times for cultural programs, in general, and for theatre, in particular, the theatre not only found a nerve to save the troupe, but also to implement a number of ambitious projects which, in our opinion, give the Russian cultural society necessary food for thought and understanding. The cultural-political magazine “E Vesti” has interviewed the theater’s director Oleg S. Mikhailov about the meanings and the staff of life of the theatre.
EV: Oleg Stanislavovich, our musicians are always accepted with a great pleasure abroad, and the government is working on exports, it creates an export center. Will this affect you?
Mikhailov O.: We do not take part in it still. We go on tours abroad, but it happens not as often as it was before.
You know, in terms of earning, it is simpler to earn in Russia. The Ministry of Culture has created a Federal Tour Centre for support of tour activities, and we are very good friends. This is the third year we will travel in Russia. The first cities of the tour were Kazan and Yoshkar-Ola, and this year we went to the Crimea, where was a large tour in four cities. Next year, we plan to go to Nizhniy Novgorod and Kaliningrad.
We are invited abroad, but it is expensive for them to bring 100-110 people, because they also have insufficient funding. We usually get one tour overseas per a season. Every year we go to the Bruckner’s festival in Linz, Austria. We are loved there, there we feel at home. And that is enough, because now we have a big load in Moscow. On average, 5 premieres in a season, and they are prepared thoroughly. You’ve seen the new scenery, it is nothing left from the usual appearance of the hall, all the rows are taken away, an amphitheater has been built…
EV: The Production of “Servilia” is a return to the Roman era, and the idea of antiquity soars and inspires many artists: here, in the Pushkin Museum, the exhibition of Leon Steinmetz is held, Koshlyakov made “Elisions” at the Museum of impressionism. Of course, we’ve been initially inspired by ancient philosophy. But why have you turned to the Roman issues?
Mikhailov O.: It is the idea of our music director, Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Servilia” was quite unknown, but complex, very beautiful. A “pop” version of Servilia’s aria appeared in the concerts sometimes. And Gennady Nikolaevich wanted to revive this opera, to return to us one of the masterpieces by Rimsky-Korsakov. We have released this show for his birthday, and we also made an archival recording with our orchestra and soloists. The record will be ready by the end of September, we will release the disc.
And thanks to Gennady Nikolaevich, that he finds such things and takes them as pearls from the shells. “Servilia” is a huge success.
EV: In your opinion, do we need now to understand the Roman and Greek antiquity. Is it vital for us today?
Mikhailov O.: I think, yes. First, from the aesthetics point of view, it is the standard of beauty. Secondly, there is the philosophy, the respect to the roots, where all has its origins. Possibly, the young people will not read Losev, but at least, they will be interested in the beginnings of Christianity. I see that many are looking who’s Servilia for in a search engine at intermission. It’s nice, because we are nothing and no one without beginnings. It is necessary to respect the beginnings and to apply to them, when necessary.
EV: Speaking of antiquity and the theater. The theatre art have been received the state funding from the earliest times, and it is aristocratic by the spirit. Because, the performances were held for free in ancient Greece, and the state took over the funding, but only aristocrats and citizens could create the performances. And the state should understand first that people need it. If we draw a parallel between our times and antiquity, do you think that now such understanding exists? And the law on patronage, is it necessary?
Mikhailov O.: We hope, that the law on patronage about which they have been talking for 6 years, will be adopted and applied properly to help the financing of specific products. Theater needs to make a creative business plan to prove, that a certain production is interesting and necessary to the viewer.
I believe that it is necessary to remove the burden from the state. When the government gives some money to the life support of the theater, it does it from the point of view of arithmetic. The number of viewers is calculated, the costs on maintenance of the building, what troop, what servicing.. It’s more about arithmetic than a creative process.
If a patron gives the money, he gives it on a specific product. The theatre will have to prove the necessity of this production, and the degree of responsibility for releasing the performance will be high. It all will be for the viewer’s benefit, who will see more quality products, quality music, quality performance, because there will be another demand. Of course, it is well, if the theaters have additional funds. I believe, such a law is needed.