HomeNewsNews for January 2014“Premieres renew blood” or The Brightest Events of 2013

11 Jan

“Premieres renew blood” or The Brightest Events of 2013

2014 finally comes at the turn of January 14. We celebrate its arrival upon Julian calendar and say farewell to 2013 making it history. Let us remember its most remarkable events. Such events for the Odessa Opera staff are, surely, premieres. Aleksandru SAMOILĂ, the Odessa Opera Principal Conductor, People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova, says that a theatre cannot live without premieres as “premieres renew both artists and spectators’ blood”.



We have made a decision not to make a rating of new productions as it is impossible to evaluate the artistic staff’s work in numbers. Instead of that a special ‘nomination’ that apparently reveals unique features of a new production has been given to each novelty.



La Serva Padrona (The Servant Mistress),
Opera-buffa by Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI
Premiered on April 19, 2013


Producing Conductor - Valery REGRUT
Original Idea, Scenic Design and Stage Direction - Oksana TARANENKO 
Costume Designer - Sergіy VASYLIEV 

One-act opera-buffa La Serva Padrona was written by 23-year-old Giovanni PERGOLESI in 1733. It was the first opera that was performed on the small stage Bel Etage (as only concerts had been performed on that stage before). The French Royal staircase served as a background for the opera and 40 meters of white fabric were used in the set design (they say 60 meters more had been torn during rehearsals), bed clothes, two ladders and a couple of coffee tables. During the performance the singers (Serpina by Nadezhda SYCHUK (on April 19) and Alyona KISTENYOVA (on May 24 and November 7), Uberto by Vadym TCHERNIGOVSKY, Vespone by Vladymir MURASHCHENKO spin intrigues, fight with pillows and flirt with the orchestra musicians (the orchestra is a separate character in the opera). The critics especially noted the vocal expertise of the performers. 



“Oksana TARANENKO’s (Kyiv) imagination who is the opera stage director and the author of the original scenography, crystal baroque music, Vadym TCHERNIGOVSKY’s deep expressive bass (Uberto), Nadezhda SYCHUK’s delicate soprano (Serpina) and expertise of a great comic actor Vladymir MURASHCHENKO (Vespone) set in magnificent interiors of the Odessa Opera have created a filigree “music box”, festive, expensive and unique souvenir”, a journalist Inna KATS writes after the premiere.

“Is it worth saying that the public have greatly appreciated the present?”, Natalia SHESTAKOVA supports her colleague’s positive review.

The spectators think that La Serva Padrona is the “most youthful” production in the repertory of the Odessa Opera.


Alcide, an opera seria by Dmytro BORTNIANSKY (dressed up concert performance)
Premiered: June 4, 2013

 Music Director and Conductor
- Oksana LYNIV
Stage Director - Sergiy ZUENKO, Honoured Artist of Ukraine
Choreography - Yuri VASYUCHENKO, Honored Artist of Ukraine
Costume Designer - Sergiy VASYLIEV

The Odessa Opera soloists, orchestra and ballet;
Choir Oriana of the Odessa Oblast center for Ukrainian Culture (Artistic Director Galina SHPAK);
Children’s choir of the Pyotr Stoliarsky Specialized Music Boarding School (Artistic Director Tetyana YAKOVCHUK) 

Alcide, an opera seria by Dmytro BORTNIANSKY, was premiered in 1778 in Italy and it was considered to be lost for 200 years. The opera was first performed in the USSR in Kiev in 1984 in a concert version. Our theatre also presented a concert version but it had several peculiarities. First, it was a dressed up production. Second, it was set on a small stage, on a French Royal staircase. Third, the Odessa performance embraced three generations of musicians: Professor Stoliarsky School pupils, Nezhdanova Music Academy students and the Odessa Opera masters of opera singing, the Odessa Opera soloists Irina BERLIZOVA, Honoured Artist of Ukraine (Alcide), Anastasia HOLUB (Aretrea), Alyona KISTENYOVA (Edonida) and Vladislav GORAI, Honoured Artist of Ukraine (Fronim).


Conductor Oksana LYNIV brought the score from Lviv. “The work was quite challenging and accurate in details as we had to move a bit away from Italian belle canto of VERDI and PUCCINI that frequents the Odessa Opera stage. I kept reminding to the performers that Alcide was composed 225 years ago and that romantic singing we are familiar with at present was only emerging at that time. That was quite difficult and required singing expertise”, the maestress said.

It can be added that in February 2014 Ukrainian National Broadcasting Corporation is planning to record the opera Alcide on the Odessa Opera stage. The opera is expected to be broadcast in The Opera Seasons 2013 – 2014 by the radio stations of the European Broadcasting Union placing our recoding in one row with the recordings made in Parisian Grand Opera, London Covent Garden, New York Metropolitan Opera and other world famous theatres.


Scenic Cantata Carmina Burana by Carl ORF
Premiered on June 4, 2013


Music Director and Conductor - Aleksandru SAMOILĂ, Principal Conductor of the Odessa Opera, People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova
Stage Director, Video Sequence Idea - Valery RAKU, Honoured Art Worker of Russia
Chorus Master - Leonid BUTENKO, Honoured Art Worker of Ukraine
Choreographer - Yuri VASYUCHENKO, Honoured Artist of Russia
Costume Designer - Zlata TSIRTSENS
Lighting Designer - Vyacheslav USHERENKO 


Soprano - Nadiya SYCHIUK  
Tenor - Vladislav GORAI, Honoured Artist of Ukraine
Baritone - Olexander STRYUK
Fortune - Tatyana AFANYUTINA
A Young Man, Beggar, Grand Magistro - Stanislav SKRYNNIK
Odessa Opera orchestra, chorus and ballet
Artistic Director for the Children’s Choir GEMS of ODESSA - Larisa HARBUZ 

The magnificent cantata Carmina Burana by Karl ORF performed open-air was supposed to open the II International Odessa Opera Arts Festival on June 1, 2013. However, the hurricane that all of a sudden hit Odessa the night before literary swept off the stage, scenic set and the technical equipment installed open air near the English entrance to the theatre. Financial losses totaled about 1 million UAH and the premiere had to be rescheduled on June 4. In spite of that misfortune, Carmina Burana performance became one of the most massive and bright municipal events of last summer. Some several thousand people came to admire a grandiose performance.

“I would not have had an opportunity to see Carmina Burana near the Odessa Opera should it be on time. The Karma “Hurricana” (I do know that carmina (lat.) means a little song and Burana is a name of some location) revealed and the performance got rescheduled. We intended to be on Theatrical square several minutes before it started, decided to listen a little bit and listen till the end. (…) I report it to have been made perfectly well. The orchestra sounded the way it was supposed to, the three choirs sounded the way they were supposed to, and the soloists sounded almost the way they were supposed to and even choreographic adaptation I did not quite needed was presented interestingly (…), it is a mesmerizing listacle and spectacle”, a music critic Oleg SHESTOPALOV has posted on his page in Facebook.

For Alexander MATUSEVICH from Belcanto.ru web-magazine the show turned out to be co-sounding to “the evergreen motifs of Odessa, like the ones of port, commerce, extroversion of the city to the sea and faraway, open to the whole world and liberated in its spirit”. “The organizers of the festival have turned out to be stronger than that hurricane”, resumed the journalist.


Ballets The Firebird and The Rite of Spring by Igor STRAVINSKY
Premiered on June 2, 2013

Music Director and Producing Conductor
- Aleksandru SAMOILĂ, Principal Conductor of the Odessa Opera, People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova
Choreographer - Georgy KOVTUN, People’s Artist of the Republic of Tatarstan, Honoured Art Worker of Russia
Scenic Designer - Stanislav ZAITSEV, Honoured Painter of Ukraine
Costume designers - Elena LESNIKOVA, Zlata TSIRTSENS


The Firebird
The Firebird
- Catherine KALCHENKO
Ivan-Tsarevich (Prince Ivan) - Sergiy DOTSENKO, Honoured Artist of Ukraine
Kashchei the Immortal - Pavlo GRYTS, Sviatoslav KVATCHUK

The Rite of Spring
The Chosen One
- Maria POYUDOVA, Honoured Artist of Moldova
The Young Man - Vladimir STATNY, Honoured Artist of Moldova
Idol - Dmitry BARTOSH  

The weather chose the one-act ballets The Firebird and The Rite of Spring to open the II International Odessa Opera Arts Festival instead of the cantata Carmina Burana

The works by Igor STRAVINSKY have been presented on the stage of the Odessa Opera for the first time. Choreographer Georgy KOVTUN who staged the ballets had his own vision, different from the librettos written a century ago. Thus, instead of one Kashchei and two horse riders, the day rider and the night rider, there are two “Koshchei” figures that take turns to split or combine in one horrible creature. The scenic and costume designers Stanislav ZAITSEV, Elena LESNIKOVA and Zlata TSISTSENS underlined “fairy-tale” features of the production with bright background and costumes where you can read elements of Palekh painting. 


The Rite of Spring can be called a fairy-tale too, but a bit sinister as most ancient legends are. Georgy KOVTUN has told a story about Eden being born, Personality awakening, Love evoking and its death in an uneven battle with cruel laws of fierce community. 


“Now the Odessa Opera has productions of a very high professional level that bring full house, that are contemporary and interesting for the theatre-goers of different ages and professions. It was confirmed by a storm of applause and endless “bravos” on the day of the premiere (…) A separate “thank you” should be said to Principal Conductor Aleksandru SAMOILĂ and the Odessa Opera orchestra who made alive the complicated score by STRAVINSKY”, Irina SECHKOVSKAYA, a music observer for the Odessa Oblast radio, has said in her programme.

The ballets The Firebird and The Rite of Spring were also performed on July 21 closing the 203rd theatrical season.


Opera-fairy-tale for the whole family The Emerald City with the music of different composers
Premiered on July 18, 19 and 21, 2013

Producing Conductor
Stage Director - Oksana TARANENKO
Libretto - Tamara KAGANOVICH (adapted from Alexander VOLKOV’s book The Wizard of the Emerald City)
Musical Adaptation - Edward POGOSOV
Chorus Master - Larisa GARBUZ
Choreographer - Harry SEVOYAN, Honoured Artist of Ukraine
Scenic Designer - Stanislav ZAITSEV, Honoured Painter of Ukraine
Costume Designer - Elena LESNIKOVA

With participation of the Children’s Choir THE GEMS of ODESSA 

The authors have created a kind of a unique music encyclopedia for children. The Musical part of the production features works of ten composers of 17th – 20th centuries. “It appears that one production comprises music by W.A. MOZART and P. MASCAGNI, G. ROSSINI and G. MEYERBEER, G. PAISIELLO and E. HUMPERDINCK. These classical composers would have been really surprised if they had found out that their music would fit one production absolutely naturally in the 21st century”, says Tamara KAGANOVICH, the author of libretto.

The Odessa Opera soloists and participants of the Children’s Choir THE GEMS of ODESSA perform roles in the performance. As Larisa HARBUZ, Artistic Director and Chorus Master of the choir, notes down, children perform solo parts, namely complicated compositions by MOZART, ROSSINI and other authors for the first time. “Children and classical music are in quite delicate relations. If you introduce children to the classical music in a right way, they will fall in love with it”, the chorus master says sharing her experience. 

To make perception easier for children the authors combined singing with dramatic dialogues. “Our fairy-tale introduces children to masterpieces of the operatic art in an easy and accessible manner. It will be easier for them to perceive this music in the operas for adults”, Tamara KAGANOVICH explains. 

“Creation of such musical fairy-tale with beautiful classical music where children perform is a brilliant idea! Such a thing can be done only by enthusiasts and… kids”, thinks Irina SECHKOVSKAYA, a music observer.


Opera Pique Dame by Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY
Premiered on October 19, 20 and 25, 2013


Producing Conductor - Aleksandru SAMOILĂ, Principal Conductor of the Odessa Opera, People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova
Stage Director - Alexander TITEL, People’s Artist of Russia
Scenic Designer - Stanislav MOROZOV, Honoured Artist of Russia
Costume Designer - Elena STEPANOVA
Choreographer - Yuri VASYUCHENKO, Honoured Artist of Russia
Chorus Master - Leonid BUTENKO, Honoured Art Worker of Ukraine

With participation of the Children’s Choir THE GEMS of ODESSA (under artistic direction by Larisa HARBUZ) 

We call this premiere “the peakiest” not only because the words “peak” and “pique” sound similar. It is high time for the Odessa Opera to have Russian operas in its repertoire and the production has become one of the ‘peaks” in the most recent history. Aleksandru SAMOILĂ, Principal Conductor of the Odessa Opera, People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova admitted that he has been dreaming of this production since he entered the theatre through the back entrance many years ago having read the inscription on the plaque that Tchaikovsky himself was present here during the production of the Pique Dame.

The candidature for the stage director’s position was defined and approved two years ago. It was Alexander TITEL, People’s Artist of Russia and Artistic Manager and Principal Stage Director of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovych-Danchenko Moscow Theatre.


Alexander TITEL called his interpretation of the opera neither “classy” nor “avant-garde”. “The Odessa public is not used to seeing operatic avant-garde and it is not worth, as Ivan SOLERTINSKY wrote, “presenting the Pique Dame upside down”. I wanted to create a performance that could tell stories about us nowadays as well as of the times of PUSHKIN and TCHAIKOVSKY. I wanted to unite the three centuries of St. Petersburg, in particular, “golden age”, “silver age” and reminiscences of recent days. You will see some details in costumes, elements and fragments in the production that close up this performance to our time. There also will be 18th and 19th centuries”, he explains his concept. 

“This production by TITEL has almost no puzzles, it is not a riddle for intellectuals but it is a live theatre where feelings, emotions, passions, obsessions lead. All these are necessary components of the TCHAIKOVSKY opera. Main directing lines can be easily read making the public compassionate with a wonderful world of opera and its characters. These qualities are rare on contemporary operatic stage where dominate riddles bringing nothing either to the heart or wits. TITEL’s production avoids such fashion luckily presenting a nice example of musical stage direction”, wrote Alexander MATUSEVICH, a music observer from Moscow. 


“Pique Dame premiere has not become a trite illustration to the classical work. The theatre keeping professional standards has offered a contemporary vision of both TCHAIKOVSKY and PUSHKIN”, a journalist Marina NEKRASOVA from the “Odesskiy Vestnik” (“Odessa Messenger”) newspaper shared her impressions.


The previous year was rich not only with the premieres named above. Last year saw lots of concerts on both main and chamber stage, celebrities of the world level and beneficiaries of the Odessa Opera. We do not want to bore you with a list of all landmark events. We promise that we will surprise the public in 2014 with its good performance. We also hope that in December of 2014 the visitors of our website and theatre pages in the social networks will take part in summing up the year. 

New premieres are waiting for you!

English translation by Angelika KUZNETSOVA