Nikolai Rimski-Kórsakov’s “The legend of the invisible city of Kitezh” in Barcelona



Kitege1_02The legend of the invisible city of Kitezh

Nikolai Rimski-Kórsakov

13, 16, 22, 26 and 30 April 2014

The eternal dream of the Slavic soul

An innocent country girl named Fevroniya saves her town from a Tartar attack: she makes a wish, the wish comes true, and Kitezh becomes invisible.  But there is a secret gate into the city… Rimsky-Korsakov composed a veritable musical monument to the Slavic soul dreamed of by Tolstoy. In the eternal debate between West and East, he opted clearly for the latter, complete with its mysteries and its ancestral legends.  The score, which has Wagnerian ambitions, draws on the heritage of the Russian musical tradition, both popular and religious, and the true leading role belongs to the people (the chorus). Somewhat surprisingly, the opera has close links with the Liceu: the first production outside Russia was staged here and for a whole decade (1926-36) it was by far the Barcelona audience’s favourite work. 

Four-act opera. Libretto by Vladimir Ivanovich Belsky based on I. S. Meledin’s Kitezh Chronicle, the novel In the forests by Pavel Ivanovich Melnikov, songs and epic poems collected by Kirsha Danilov, and various popular tales. Music by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Premiered on 20 February 1907 at the Mariinski Theatre in Saint Petersburg. First performance at  the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 2 January 1926. Most recent performance  at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 25 January 1970.


Award for the staging of “The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh”

The staging of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, which won the award for best production of the year 

The jury of the International Opera Awards 2013 considered that the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Nederlandse Opera and the La Scala of Milan co-production of the opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh was the year’s best staging of an opera. The production premièred in Amsterdam last year and will be performed at the Liceu in April 2014. Dmitri Tcherniakov, stage director of the production, also won for best stage director. The winners were revealed on Monday at a ceremony held at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane which was attended by stars including Dame Janet Baker, Dame Anne Evans and tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who won for best male singer. The award for best female singer went to Nina Stemme. 

Other winners included the musical director of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano, set designer Anthony McDonald, wardrobe designer Buji Shiff, lighting designer Paule Constable, the orchestra of the New York Metropolitan Opera, the chorus of the Cape Town Opera, the Salzburg Festival, the Frankfurt Opera, the opera Written on Skin by George Benjamin, Sir Peter Moores, Sir George Christie and the arrangements of Handel’s “Alessandro” conducted by George Petrou, the “Romantic Arias” by Christian Gerhaher and the DVD of “Il Trittico” by the Royal Opera House.  

The first edition of the International Opera Awards was organised by Harry Hyman and the jury was chaired by John Allison, editor of the Opera journal. Jury members were David Gockley, director of the San Francisco Opera; Joan Matabosch, artistic director at the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Peter Alward, director of the Salzburg Easter Festival; Guus Mostart, director of the Enschede Opera; Nicholas Payne, director of Opera Europa; sopranos Anne Evans and Katherine Harris; and critics Hugh Canning (Sunday Times), Rupert Christiansen (Daily Telegraph) and Andrew Clements (The Guardian).

Josep Pons

Stage direction and Scenography
Dmitri Tcherniakov

Elena Zaitseva and Dmitri Tcherniakov

Gleb Filshtinsky

New Co-production
Gran Teatre del Liceu / De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam) / Teatro alla Scala (Milan)

Svetlana Ignatovitx, Maksim Aksenov, Eric Halfvarson, Dimitris Tiliakos, Vladimir Ognovenko, Margarita Nekrasova, Jennifer Check, Mayram Sokolova, Guennadi Bezubenkov, Josep Fadó, Albert Casals and others 

Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu

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