Janáček, The Makropoulos Affair

The Makropoulos Affair by Janáček at the Gelikon-on-Arbat.

The Gelikon Opera is still performing temporarily in a very small theater while its own home is being renovated. This setting (minimal stage, full orchestra pit, seating on one level – no balconies – with only about ten rows and thirty seats per row) gave the performance an added degree of intimacy.

Musically it was very good, as expected from the Gelikon. The production used traditional costumes, but with such a tiny stage there was not much room for a staging, so it was a bit abstract. Still, it was thoughtful, meaning it added to the understanding of the plot, and therefore worth staging and not doing a concert version despite the sub-optimal conditions. Clearly the director had thought about this. Also likely that the director had never been to the opera in Germany (thankfully).

The program advertised that Gennady Rozhdestvensky would conduct, but he was not there. Vladimir Ponkin took his place.


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