“Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” (Dimitri Shostakovich) in Belgium


Vlaaamse Opera presents

“Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District”

Dmitri Sjostakovitsj [Dimitri Shostakovich] (1906 – 1975)

From 21/03/2014 in Antwerp

  • Dmitri Jurowski
  • Calixto Bieito
  • Ladislav Elgr
  • Musical direction: Dmitri Jurowski
  • Director: Calixto Bieito
  • Boris: John Tomlinson
  • Katerina: Ausrine Stundyte
  • Sergej: Ladislav Elgr
  • Zinovi: Ludovit Ludha


Oppressed by an impotent, rich spouse and an authoritarian father-in-law, Katerina Ismailova chooses to embark on a passionate love affair. Because of her hopeless situation, she seeks liberation in the arms of her attractive lover Sergei. When Sergei turns out to be equally cruel and untrustworthy, she gets caught up in a spiral of violence. Katerina’s dream is smashed to pieces.

Shostakovich juxtaposes Katerina’s lyrical vocal lines with an explosive orchestral arrangement, full of shrill colours and hard dissonances. Despite its overwhelming success, the work was officially condemned by the Soviet regime. This spelt the immediate end of Shostakovich’s nascent opera career. The chaos-loving director Calixto Bieito is sure to deliver a radical but intelligent interpretation of Shostakovich’s capital opera. He places Katerina in a solitary cocoon in an amoral, post-apocalyptic world.

Language: Russian. Surtitles: Dutch.

Tickets from € 11.00 to € 100.00


Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen

Frankrijklei 3


  • Fri 21 Mar 2014 – 20:00
  • Sun 23 Mar 2014 – 15:00
  • Wed 26 Mar 2014 – 20:00
  • Sat 29 Mar 2014 – 20:00
  • Tue 01 Apr 2014 – 20:00
  • Thu 03 Apr 2014 – 20:00
  • Sun 06 Apr 2014 – 15:00
  • With his powerful, moving imagery, the Spanish director Calixto Bieito has by now created a special niche for himself. His Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny was enthusiastically received in Antwerp and Ghent in 2011. For Dmitri Jurowski, Shostakovich is familiar territory in which to demonstrate his mastery. The title role is reserved for Ausrine Stundyte, who previously sang the role of Nastashain Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress with great passion. The Czech tenor Ladislav Elgr is to play Sergei and the British John Tomlinson, always a welcome guest in Bayreuth, will be getting under the skin of father-in-law Boris.



Katerina Ismailova is caught in a loveless marriage with the dreary merchant Zinovi. She is bored to tears. Her tyrannical father-in-law Boris blames her for the fact that after five years her marriage to Zinovi has not yet produced a child, but Katerina tells him that only his son can be held responsible for that. While Zinovi is on a business trip, the shifty Boris fancies trying his luck with the young woman, who is yearning for passion and sex. But Zinovi’s new servant Sergei has beaten him to it. The handsome Sergei, who has a reputation for womanising, openly makes advances to Katerina who, after some weak resistance, gives herself entirely. Boris catches Sergei out and has him beaten horribly in public. Katerina, determined to continue her steamy relationship with Sergei, is out for revenge and poisons her father-in-law with rat poison. When he returns home, Zinovi questions Katerina. He has been informed of what took place in his absence. Katerina denies it all, but Zinovi shows her no mercy. With Sergei’s help she kills her husband. Together they hide the body in the cellar. Katerina and Sergei get married. During their wedding party, a workman goes looking for drink in the cellar, where he finds Zinovi’s body. He reports it to the police. Katerina and Sergei are arrested and are sent to do forced labour in a Siberian prison camp. Sergei wants nothing more to do with Katerina. His dream of climbing the social ladder by means of this merchant’s wife has been shattered. He now takes up with Sonyetka, who wants a pair of stockings as proof of Sergei’s love. He cajoles Katerina out of a pair. When Katerina grasps that she is being deceived, she pushes Sonyetka in a river and jumps in after her. The two women drown, while the line of prisoners walks on.

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