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   September 26
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Arts Calendar / April 6 / Opera
19:00 Aleko
Opera production. 60 min. Director: Rostislav Protasov. Musical Director: Valery Kiryanov. Set and costume designer: Valery Kungurov (Berlin). Sometimes it can happen, that a diploma work of a young graduate of the Conservatory enters into the history of opera world along with masterpieces of recognized masters. But when the author of this work is Sergei Rachmaninoff, and the librettist is a great Nemirovich-Danchenko, who’s libretto is based on the text of our "sun of the poetry" – Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin, there is nothing to be surprised of! Opera "Aleko" was written by Rachmaninoff when he was just 19 years old. The young author was obsessed with this work and his creation also impressed another Russian genius – Peter Tchaikovsky, so he desired to see "Aleko" along with his "Iolanta" in one program. In the letter to his brother, he wrote: "I really liked this lovely thing". It is on record that, Rachmaninoff was speechlessly amazed when he heard that, so he only could make some unreasonable gestures and Pyotr Ilyich cheered: "Thank you, coquettish young man, for you honor." In the beginning of the XX century the outstanding Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin was rehearsing with Rachmaninoff in an old residence of Princess Shakhovskaya, in the same place where now Helikon opera is situated. Here in "Helikon" the history is treated very carefully, so not by an accident in the year of the 145th anniversary of the great Russian composer the theater prepares a production of the opera "Aleko", in which greatest Fyodor Chaliapin shone!
Helikon Opera 
19:00 Madama Butterfly
Opera in two acts by Giacomo Puccini. 160 min (with one intermission). Music Director and Conductor: Jan Latham-Koenig. Performed in Italian with Russian surtitles. Puccini’s Madama Buttery (1904) is ranked among the best classical operas. This work tells a tragic story of love of a young Japanese geisha from Nagasaki for an American lieutenant, and from a broader point of view it speaks of incompatibility of Western and Eastern cultural traditions. “On the back of the enormous European interest in everything Eastern, especially in Japan, Puccini was attracted by the confict between East and West in the plot (as is known, according to Kipling, “never the twain shall meet”). Energetic American pragmatism (“easy and nice”, according to Pinkerton) encroaches on the mysterious Eastern world of entities and destroys it. The integrity of this world is guarded by the young geisha” (Mikhail Muginstein). Puccini’s opera is a product of the modernist art period. Puccini’s Japanese tragedy appeared a year before Strauss’ Salome, a gorgeous modernist flower. In Madama Buttery a lyrical Italian drama is placed in an exotic Japanesque frame. the composer is focused on the character of 15-year-old Cio-Cio-san who goes from being a naive girl to becoming a woman who suffers a psychological drama. Attention to the inner psychological action determines the opera’s slow tempo; several episodes serve as a foil: the wedding ceremony, the Bonze’s curse and Prince Yamadori’s marriage proposal. Madama Buttery is Puccini’s rst opera in which he tried to incorporate the exotic Eastern colouring. the tones of authentic Japanese melodies, Japanese bells and tam-tams in the orchestra — all this creates the imitable aura of one of Puccini’s most widely performed operas.
Novaya Opera Theatre 
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