Glinka, Ruslan & Lyudmila
A terrifically charming production of Glinka’s Ruslan i Lyudmila at the Novaya this evening.
This opera is rarely performed and is mostly known because of its overture (which in this production, for some reason, was not performed before the opera but rather came at the very end of the opera as the conclusion to the celebration at the end of the final act). However, if the opera were more often produced like the version I saw tonight, it would become a staple in the repertory.
This was the sort of production you bring kids to (as a lot of people did this evening) to make them interested in opera. It was a ton of fun, staged as though it were out of a children’s picture-book, and musically excellent too. It is a fairy tale, so the staging captured that mood, with bright colors, fanciful creatures, and over-acting. It was also the first opera I have seen at the Novaya Opera where I understood the staging (although not realistic, but it is a fairy tale, so what is realism? – importantly, the director used the staging to support the story). Sergey Lisenko on the podium, Vladimir Kudashev and Yelena Terentyeva in the title roles. Truly delightful.