Our Onegin off to win ’hearts and minds’ at La Scala


After a twenty-year interval, the Bolshoi Opera Company is once again to appear at Milan’s La Scala, where it is to present perhaps the most popular of all Russian operas — Eugene Onegin in a production by Dmitri Tcherniakov, a director who is already well-known in the West, including in Italy (Tcherniakov’s recent production of Prokofiev’s The Gambler at La Scala won the Franco Abbiati prize, Italy§пs most prestigious musical award, established by the Italian Association of Music Critics).

Dmitri Tcherniakovs Onegin is becoming one of the Bolshoi Theatre opera productions which is most in demand. In September 2008, it opened the season at the Paris Ope¦ra, this was followed by successful tours in Riga and Tokyo. Following its 2009 Milan season, it will be shown at the Ljubliana Music Festival in Slovenia, and also in China, Great Britain (at London’s Royal Opera) and in Spain, also at the country’s leading opera house, the Teatro Real, Madrid.

Onegin’s popularity is due in no small measure to the recently released Bel Air Classiques DVD, made of the Bolshoi performances of the opera in Paris, which was given an appreciative reception by European music critics.

The forthcoming Bolshoi Theatre La Scala season is arousing great interest in the Italian media. On 14 July, Oneginwill be transmitted live by the Italian RAI 3 Radio Company; before curtain up, Bolshoi Theatre Musical Director and conductor of the performance Alexander Vedernikov will answer questions put to him by a RAI 3 correspondent and, in the interval — Dmitri Tcherniakov.

The Bolshoi and La Scala are linked by a long tradition of partnership. Italian singers have given master-classes at the Bolshoi, while Bolshoi Theatre opera soloists have studied at la Scala, and young dancers at the La Scala Ballet School and La Scala soloists have studied at the Bolshoi.

The exchange tours between the two companies were begun in 1964. Exactly 45 years ago, the first Bolshoi Theatre season at La Scala took place, with performances of Boris Godunov, Borodin’s Prince Igor,The Queen of Spades andRimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko; there were also symphony concerts. This tradition of presenting the great Russian classical operas to the Italian public was to be continued in subsequent years. In 1973-74, the second round of exchange tours between the two Theatres took place ЁC and at La Scala, the Bolshoi presented Eugene Onegin, Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila, Borodin’s Prince Igor, ProkofievЎЇs Semyon Kotko and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina. The third round was in 1989 with Bolshoi performances at La Scala of Boris Godunov, Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mlady and Prokofiev’s The Duenna.

Apart from these large-scale tours, there were also exchanges of guest soloists. Thus Bolshoi soloists Irina Arkhipova, Elena Obraztsova, Evgeny Nesterenko took part in La Scala productions, while Mario del Monaco, Luciano Pavarotti, Nikolai Ghiaurov, Mirella Freni sang at the Bolshoi.

In 2006, the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Bolshoi and la Scala, marked the start of a new period in relations between the two theatres. Soon afterwards ЁC in May 2007, the Bolshoi Ballet Company did a season at La Scala, the first for thirty years, and in January, 2008, the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Alexander Vedernikov, gave concerts at La Scala. Both tours got a rapturous reception from audiences and critics. In addition, at the end of January 2007, Roberto Bolle, the La Scala principal etoile, appeared in a Bolshoi Theatre production, while, in 2008, Bolshoi Theatre prima ballerina, Svetlana Zakharova, who is very popular in Italy, was the first Russian dancer to be awarded with the rank of La Scala etoile.

As was the case in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of the last century, the first La Scala exchange seasons at the Bolshoi, are to follow in quick succession: first to appear in Moscow will be the La Scala Orchestra and Chorus, and then the Theatre’s Ballet and Opera Companies.

The Tour’s Program

Eugene Onegin
July 13, 14, 16, 17, 8.00 pm

Madame Larina
Makvala Kasrashvili -July 13, 16, 17
Irina Rubtsova — July 14

Tatiana Monogarova — July 13, 16
Yekaterina Shcherbachenko — July 14, 17

Margarita Mamsirova — July 13, 14, 17
Svetlana Shilova — July 16

Emma Sarkisyan — July 13, 16, 17
Irina Udalova — July 14

Eugene Onegin
Vasily Ladyuk — July 13, 16
Vladislav Sulimsky — July 14, 17

Vladimir Lensky
Andrei Dunaev — July 13, 16
Andrew Goodwin — July 14
Roman Shulakov — July 17

Prince Gremin
Anatoly Kocherga- July 13, 16
Mikhail Kazakov — July 14
Alexander Naumenko — July 17

Valery Gilmanov

Conductor — Alexander Vedernikov

Bolshoi Orchestra and Chorus Concert
July 15, 8.00 pm

Modest Mussorgsky
(Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s version)
Night On Bald Mountain
Oedipus in Athens
The Destruction of Sennacherib
Jesus Navin — Margarita Mamsirova, Andrei Valenty

Dmitry Shostakovich
Symphony No. 10

Conductor — Alexander Vedernikov
Chorus Master — Valery Borisov