Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Moscow Director Kirill Serebrennikov Debuts At Kirov Opera/Mariinsky Theater/Russian National Opera-Petersburg In Verdi's Falstaff

"Director Kirill Serebrennikov’s opera debut at the Mariinsky Theater [the Kirov Opera, in Petersburg, Russia] takes on Verdi’s ribald comedy and sides with its eponymous hero.

Showing sympathy for the eponymous rascal of "Falstaff," first-time opera director Kirill Serebrennikov, the enfant terrible of Moscow’s theater scene, has turned Shakepeare’s merry wives into a gang of stylish and heartless battle-axes.

Serebrennikov’s engaging production of Guiseppe Verdi’s last opera, based on “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “Henry IV,” premiered at the Mariinsky Theater [Kirov Opera] last Wednesday....

Serebrennikov’s production balances on the verge of misogyny: Alice, Meg and Mistress Quickly, like empty-headed dolls, pull their lips and meticulously plan vicious revenge as they get their nails and hair done in a beauty salon.

The director contrasts Falstaff’s emotional spontaneity with the womens’ mean, cold-blooded callousness. Their vendetta appears shallow, and the audiences are likely to sympathize with Falstaff....

The main challenge of this opera is its ensemble pieces. The cast navigated safely through the pitfalls, and the orchestra, under the baton of Mariinsky Theater [Kirov Opera] artistic director Valery Gergiev, barnstormed confidently through the score.

The finale, choreographed by ballet master Alla Sigalova, was disappointing. Fashioned to resemble an S&M fetish party, complete with whips, lashes, leather corsets and masks, it lacked a consistent concept." ...

Galina Stolyarova "A very merry Falstaff" The St. Petersburg Times February 22, 2006. www.times.spb.ru

A more traditional Falstaff sans de rigeur, operatic S&M fetish party.

Image credit: www.peopleplayuk.org.uk


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