Sicilian passion on the Minsk stage

The work on international project was started at the National Academy Bolshoy Opera Theatre
Swedish art-director Alexander Nordshtrem, Ukrainian musical director Victor Ploskina and Belarusian artists stared staging opera “Rustic Chivalry” after Italian composer Pietro Mascani. Our correspondent got acquainted with their idea at the rehearsal.

The project participants completely gathered. All artists playing leading role performed their arias. Though, there were no decorations an atmosphere of Sicilian village of the end of ХIХ century was felt pretty well. Soloist sang so expressively that any commentaries were not necessary. The art-director stopped the artists only several times: asked to add some passion and expression in loving duo typical for the Italians. When the action moved to old tavern Elena Salo and Yanosh Nelepa had been energetically swinging timber cups — the only property at the first rehearsal.

— I like to stage operas, — explains Alexander Nordshtrem. — Especially such brilliant like Rustic Chivalry. The premiere was in May 1890 in Rome, the performance stills successfully parades the planet. The history of the play is extremely interesting. The composer Mascani took part in the contest announced by one of the Milanese publishers. For libretto he had chosen a novella of the Italian writer Giovanni Verga, wrote music for it and … gained the lead. Rustic Chivalry is in the top thirty best operas of the world. It attracts not only by its wealth of music but everlasting topic of love as well.

The work under the masterpiece presupposes great responsibility. There is risk of mutilation author’s version. To escape it I’ll discuss my sketches with the artists at the rehearsals. By the way, they had already given me a bunch of interesting ideas. It is the second opera of Alexander Nordshtrem. Generally he had been in cooperation with drama theatres till now. The art-director living the last sixteen years in Stockholm came from Saint-Petersburg where the first night of his play “Varvara” was a success. Alexander Nordshtrem will soon start the work over the performance “Servant of Two Masters” at the National Academy Theatre named after Yanka Kupala.

In the capital of Belarus the art-director will stay till the end of the year. After that he is to work in Sweden and other countries. In the long term Alexander Nordshtrem is going to return to Belarus again. It is there that his opera debut took place: a year ago a staging of the opera Giacomo Puccini “Gianni Schicchi” was a success.
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