The Mariinsky (Kirov Ballet) Theatre
Stage Director and Set Designer – Isabelle Partiot-Pieri, Lighting Designer – Vladimir Lukasevich, Musical Preparation – Alla Brosterman, Principal Chorus Master – Pavel Petrenko. Conductor Tugan Sokhiev is working on the production, having conducted several opera premieres last season including Rimsky-Korsakov s The Tale of Tsar Saltan. Since 2005 Tugan Sokhiev has also been First Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, France.
The brilliant stage history of Ruggero Leoncavallo s opera I pagliacci began with the premiere on 21 May 1892 at Milan s Teatro Dal Verme. It was conducted by the young Toscanini. The premiere enjoyed amazing success – many of the numbers were repeated twice and three times, and the composer received twenty-four curtain calls. Leoncavallo worked on arguably his most popular work determinedly and furiously – "Back to the wall and despairing, but full of resolution for the last battle" (as he later wrote in his autobiography), the composer worked furiously on the opera in an unspoken rivalry with Pietro Mascagni, whose Cavalleria rusticana, after the triumphant premiere at the Teatro Costanzi di Roma, had been staged at every major theatre in Europe for just over a year. The libretto and music for I pagliacci were completed in five months. I pagliacci answers all the canons of verismo aesthetics. It is a theatrical, dramatic and compact opera-play.
Soon the opera became famous all over Europe, and the Mariinsky Theatre proved no exception. I pagliacci was staged in St Petersburg as early as 1893 by the directing and conducting team of Osip Palechek and Eduard Napravnik. The premiere was performed by outstanding singers of the day – Nikolai Figner and his wife Medea. The opera was staged a second time at the Mariinsky Theatre, by then the Kirov, in 1929 under the direction of Isai Dvorishchin.
A star cast has been engaged for the new stage version. The main role of Canio, leader of a company of travelling comedians, will be performed by brilliant tenor Vladimir Galuzin, who has a fine reputation not just as a singer but also as an actor. Canio is one of the crowning roles in the tenor repertoire, and it is also being rehearsed by the renowned Yuri Marusin and Alexei Steblyanko. The role of the comedian Tonio will be sung by baritone Valery Alexeyev, who has created many excellent roles at the Mariinsky Theatre, among them Rigoletto in last season s premiere. I pagliacci is also being rehearsed by Tatiana Borodina, Yekaterina Popova and Natalia Timchenko (Nedda), Yevgeny Ulanov and Edem Umerov (Tonio), Vladimir Felenchak, Andrei Ilyushnikov and Alexander Timchenko (Beppe) and Vladimir Moroz, Vladislav Sulimsky and Vladimir Tyulpanov (Silvio).
The new stage version is being directed by Isabelle Partiot-Pieri: "I am inclined to connect operatic verismo, I pagliacci being written according to its laws, with the phenomenon of neo-realism in Italian cinema which is so very close to us. In my production reality and theatre come together all the time. In one scene stage workers appear, and we also expose the stage space of the Mariinsky Theatre which is normally unseen by audiences.
I believe that Canio, Tonio and Nedda are like Shakespeare s Otello, Desdemona and Iago. And if in Shakespeare Iago uses Otello to kill Desdemona, then in I pagliacci, too, Tonio places a knife on the table and closes the door of the caravan so that Nedda cannot escape."
Theatre address: Theatralnaya sq., 1
Show begins at 7 p.m.
Duration: 1 hours 15 minutes, opera in two acts with a prologue, without an interval
Performed in Italian
Music: Ruggero Leoncavallo
Production by Isabelle Partiot-Pieri
Libretto by the composer
Stage Director and Set Designer: Isabelle Partiot-Pieri
Lighting Designer: Vladimir Lukasevich
Musical Preparation: Alla Brosterman
Principal Chorus Master: Pavel Petrenko
World premiere: 21 May 1892, Teatro Dal Verme, Milan;
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 23 November 1893;
This performance premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 3 April 2006
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