Romantics and pragmatists

Romantics and pragmatists in the theater “Through the Looking Glass”

“Adult” premieres in St. Petersburg in the new year will not be born in any way, but the children are showered (and thank you!) As if from a cornucopia: in the Prokofievsky Hall of the Mariinsky Theater and in St. Petersburg Opera, in the Musical Comedy and in a small non-public charming Tavrica.

Now in “Through the Looking Glass” – just two performances.

Here, a “special card” was played: “Through the Looking Glass, like the St. Petersburg Opera, – the theater of one director, Alexander Petrov. It is extremely rare for someone else to take part in the production, and this exception is made by Petrov’s graduates – a teacher at the Academy of Theater Arts, on a simple – Theater on Mokhovaya.

Here and now to the “altar” are two young directors – graduates Anna Snegova (she is the singer-soloist of the Looking Glass) and Maria Paveleva. They have one master, of course, Petrov; and the hero of their director’s heart is one – a young composer Ilya Partas, a pupil of the venerable Sergei Slonimsky.

The literary inspirer is also one: Hans Christian Andersen. In general, the company is worthy. The fruit of her joint efforts were two children’s operas – “Swineherd” and “Little Mermaid”, both one-act, not more than an hour.

They go separately, on different days, because the age of viewers does not imply overloading with artistic impressions. So that with the young nails at all not to discourage the taste for opera.

“What is good and what is bad” – you could call the performance “Swineherd”. However, not all so simple. For the young spectator it is an introduction to a romantic opera with its hopelessly idealistic princes (here Denis Snigirev) and their faithful friends (a devoted and artistic nature – Johann’s friend (Denis Bukharaev, the most, perhaps, organic actor in the whole composition)), , but later repented beauties (I note the sonorous moving soprano Elena Zastavna). Sense analogues look for in a big serious opera – “Manon”, “Bohemia”, “Turandot”, etc.

By the nature of music – this is a bow to a diverse classics: a little from Tchaikovsky and other great ones, something from a good Soviet song and, accordingly, pseudo-romantic arias of the Soviet opera. Another household and almost mandatory for the classical opera mazurka and waltz, at a dramatic moment – a real opera ensemble.

And here is the Austrian song “Ah, my dear Augustine” – it is especially in the case here: a magic pot for which the pragmatic princess easily surrendered highly moral principles, Andersen just played this song. Such a vinaigrette turned out, skillfully mixed.

At the same time, it is a bridge to a common operetta: mumps, zazyvno twisting tasks, a comic king, falsely distorted court ladies. So children in an hour of time are very, very formed (from the word education).

On the one hand, the guinea pigs in their roles, of course, are good and perfectly confirm the version that the kingdom is pigish. On the other hand, both the operetta pigs, and the stupid king with popcorn, and some mechanical set of familiar intonations may or may not like, but in all this there is clearly seen the author’s (I.P.) and the director’s (A. Snegova) irony.

Another thing is that it is realized scenically with the help of popular stamps that replace real fantasy. But the children seem to like, laugh (the argument for the cash register is weighty). Actively look at the scene with her wittyly painted artist Maria Medvedev cubes, trapezoids, circles depicting the garden. And on a minimum –

in smartphones, that there is now a higher recognition of the artistic merits of the musical and theatrical performance.

With “Little Mermaid” everything is more complicated. In smartphones look more often. Especially at first and somewhere, after being out of seriousness, in the middle. But this performance is thinner. His seemingly simple scenographic design of Daria Zditovetskaya – moving up and down like pierced theatrical “cardboards” depicting the sea abyss – somehow in an unknown way is in harmony with the naive sincerity of the Little Mermaid. Here is no longer an ironic look from the outside, but an attempt to immerse the viewer-listener in the world of a real lyrical drama.

Thank you, the announcement is hidden.
Thank you, the announcement is hidden.

This approach is better than the ironic attitude of Svinopas? Not at all. It’s just different. And it happened. Hooked. First of all, stylish impressive music, transparency and beauty of orchestral and vocal intonation. And the actor’s hit in the role.

Miniature Marina Tekteleva with her almost childish grace, a small but gently ringing voice and quivering naturalness in every movement is a wonderful Mermaid. In the prologue she sits on a ball in the pose of the famous sculptors Edward Eriksen, a long emerald tail-train streaming to the foot of the monument. And some girl playing sand on the beach, accidentally notices her. “Mom, who is this?” Why is she so sad? “

About this performance. About the passionate desire to be a man and pay for it. Remember the Snow Maiden? “Give my mother’s maiden heart, give love!” And then “I love and I melt …” The Little Mermaid has a love, timid and gentle, but there are no words to express it. Because for the happiness of being a man, the sea maiden gave her immortality, the mermaid’s tail and a wonderful voice.

And the Prince, contrary to the statement that men love eyes and women with ears, wants his choice to be HOW EVERYTHING, wants to hear her admiring speeches. And only after losing true love, he understands that his life does not make sense.

Music “Mermaid”, sustained in a single key, is not completely perceived as monotonous. The flexibility, fluidity of melodies with a barely noticeable touch of Rimsky-Korsakov-style orientalism, the skilful interweaving of the leitmotif of the water world into the fabric of the whole musical narrative, the delicate coloring of orchestration, and the finely tuned dramaturgy culminating in the intense episode of “Kill It!” Give this little opera artistic integrity.

A performance by Pavel, which preserves the poetic tonality, but tinted by contrasting episodes with the underwater witch and her assistants – algae worms or a beautiful scene of light and plastic ball scene, is happily saved by the director from sugary sentimentality. Even the cold-spoken restraint of Prince Sergey Povalyaev works for a common style.

In the finale, the Little Mermaid returns to her nurse, but the Prince also follows her into the water. The stage code is beautiful and ambiguous: not a tragedy, which, probably, is not very necessary for children, but also not happy end. Everything is sad.

However, after the epilogue, when the girl and her mother find beautiful fragrant flowers on the knees of the Little Mermaid, there is a second epilogue – dance bows, and this is a real happy ending.

It would seem, so what? Bowing to music is an ordinary thing. But the sense of form, well-adjusted by the director and choreographer (Alexander Zhuravlyov), works here, and everything is somehow successfully looped into the eternal story that “love is never without sadness, but it’s more pleasant than sadness without love.”

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