Went to the movies at the Novaya Opera tonight, where concert excerpts from Prokofiev’s music to Eisenstein’s films Ivan the Terrible and Aleksandr Nyevsky were on the program (for the Nyevsky excerpts they used the Cantata that Prokofiev himself prepared based on the film ). The orchestra played from the pit, a film screen was dropped halfway up the stage, and the chorus sang from the sides of the stage. Since I have never seen the Ivan films (Eisenstein completed Part I, most of Part II, and only a small amount of Part III before the Soviets killed the project), it was hard for me to follow along with the video excerpts, which jumped around a bit. However, I do know the Nyevsky film, so although the portions shown also jumped around I could follow – I wonder how well the rest of the audience knows these two films?
The Novaya orchestra and chorus sounded in full form (although the brass began to wear out as the night went on), conducted by Dmitry Volosnikov. These works are not part of the house’s normal repertory, so it was a one-night-only performance. That said, I hope they do it again. Fantastic way to hear this music and see parts of these classic films. Absolute genius.