By Ivan Onisimov
The exhibition is a joint project launched by the museum and the theatre, featuring photos of actors who have performed the show’s leading roles over the years, in addition to set scenes from 1953 to 2011. The Head Editor of Belarus’ National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Olga Savitskaya, notes that Sergey Nikolaev’s unique costumes (from the museum’s archives) occupy a special place in the exhibition, which also showcases costumes from the Bolshoi Theatre.
Aida was first staged in Minsk in 1953, by famous singer and operatic director Larisa Alexandrovskaya. It was a success for over 50 years, featuring Sofia Druker, Nikolay Vorvulev, Maria Gulegina, Mikhail Druzhina, Svetlana Danilyuk, Lyudmila Shemchuk, Zinoviy Babiy, Anatoly Generalov, Mikhail Galkovsky, Victor Chernobaev and Nagima Galeeva. Audiences were attracted by its magnificent scale and wonderful sets (created by artist Sergey Nikolaev).
In 1953, another prominent staging of the opera took place — in Bucharest. Sets and costumes were designed by People’s Artist of Belarus, Honoured Figure of Arts of Russia, Lithuania and Tajikistan Yevgeny Chemodurov.
A new staging was premiered in May 2011, overseen by director Mikhail Pandzhavidze, who chose Mr. Chemodurov’s sets for his performance. “We’ve done a huge job searching for original materials and restorations — visiting Kazan and addressing the Chemodurov Fund. Information was collected from his few drafts, booklets and set designs,” Mr. Pandzhavidze notes.
Sets for the new performance were prepared by Mr. Chemodurov’s pupil, Alexander Kostyuchenko, allowing today’s Aida to miraculously combine the past and the present.