Rimsky-Korsakov, Tsar’s Bride

Tsar’s Bride by Rimsky-Korsakov this evening at the Novaya Opera.

This opera should be performed more often, although not necessary in this staging.

It’s an opera I was only familiar with previously though excerpts, so it was good to hear the whole thing. Plot was a little convoluted. The program was only in Russian, so I had to try to remember what I had read in advance. Unfortunately, the staging did not allow me to keep track of what was going on. Although some of that can be my fault for not knowing the plot perfectly, the director really should help out a little bit.

I’m not sure what the stage was supposed to be. Sort of a huge wooden scaffolding that reminded me of the Trojan Horse for no particular reason. Characters climbed in and out. Costumes were more or less traditional. Staging was not shocking – not Regietheater – but just made no sense in general. Added nothing but distraction. And since this is not an often-performed opera, the director cannot assume people are familiar enough with it that he doesn’t need to make the action somehow clear, even if only suggestive.

Male voices were noticeably superior to the female voices on the whole. Actually, male voices were all quite good. Female voices were a tad weak, although the title character was good.

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