Mikhail Pandjavidze: ''Russia was prepared for the role of 'the tsar's bride''

The opera house is preparing for the premiere

Mikhail Pandjavidze: ''Russia was prepared for the role of 'the tsar's bride''
Photo: facebook.com

This year, the Chaliapin festival opens with the premiere of The Tsar's Bride by N. Rimsky-Korsakov produced by well-known in Kazan Mikhail Pandjavidze — the Kazan opera is staging several his successful performances. The future premiere is being rehearsed on the stage in the mornings and evenings. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya attended one of the rehearsals and spoke with the director.

Everyone loves and everyone hates

On the stage there is already the decoration for one of the scenes — the room of Grigory Gryazny. The light is still standby, but this does not spoil the impression. Wooden tower, tall tree trunks are located close to the front of the stage. A rehearsal goes to the accompaniment of the piano, a little later orchestral will begin. The director is sitting in the centre of the stage and gives new tasks to the chorus and the supernumeraries.

Let us remind that the opera was written by Rimsky-Korsakov basing on the drama of Lev Mei in 1898 and was intended for production in the private theatre of Mamontov. But because of the conflict between the composer and the philanthropist, Mamontov ceased to participate in the enterprise, and the premiere took place without his participation. The Moscow premiere was brilliant, and then the private opera began to exist in the form of an independent partnership. Soon The Tsar's Bride was staged in the Mariinsky Theatre.

Love tragedies, cruel reign of Ivan the Terrible, what is more important in The Tsar's Bride? Here is how Mikhail Pandjavidze answers this question: ''Now it is a time when it is difficult to talk about the relationship between the government and the people. But the play is about it. The Tsar's Bride for me is not Marfa Sobakina, but Russia as a whole. It was prepared for the role of 'the tsar's bride'. Ivan the Terrible was the first Russian tsar, and his ''marriage to Russia'' had far-reaching consequences. But Russia became Russia under Ivan the Terrible. If we talk about the opera itself, The Tsar's Bride has a good quality libretto, with a good intrigue. Everyone loves each other, everyone hates each other, everyone kills each other. This story could be the basis of some bloody and terrible Spanish novel, if it was not about Russia. And if it was not a Russian story. And if you do not look at the story through the eyes of us, the Russians.''

A scene from the opera The Tsar's Bride staged by Mikhail Panjavidze in the Bolshoi Theatre of Belarus. Photo: operanews.ru

''This is my fourth production of 'The Tsar's Bride''

Mr. Pandjavidze, as far as I know, it is not the first time you take on the production of The Tsar's Bride?

This is my fourth production. I staged The Tsar's Bride in Magnitogorsk, Yekaterinburg and Minsk.

As far as I understand, the concepts are changing?

The concept changes, the concept does not change… in my understanding, the concept is an idea expressed visually. If something changes visually, then the concept also changes. But, on the other hand, the main idea, the main ideas, they remain. And, as a result, there is a number of mise en scenes, invented by me, my author's mise en scenes. I like them, I am proud of them and I want them to be in the Kazan play. In Kazan a few years ago there was a production of The Tsar's Bride, I also had a hand in it, and there at the end appeared Ivan the Terrible. I like it very much, it is logically explainable, so why is it necessary to refuse it in new performance? I came up with a few more scenes in that play, and I don't want to give them up. These are the details that give the attitude to certain things. For example, in the productions of The Tsar's Bride I never staged Yar-Khmel and did not reveal Alexandrov Sloboda to the end. But I am interested in some new things that have not yet been in my productions of this opera.

I understand that The Tsar's Bride in Kazan is not a transfer of previous productions…

Of course, not a transfer. Different scenography, different idea, they are also partly changed. There are found things which I want to show to the Kazan public. The production of The Tsar's Bride in Magnitogorsk went unnoticed, the performance in Yekaterinburg was also quite local, this opera staged in Minsk is generally unknown to the Russian public, because it is a different state. The Moscow press was almost not present at these performances.

A scene from the opera The Tsar's Bride staged by Mikhail Pandjavidze in the Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Photo: uralopera.ru

A large pool of critics from Moscow and St. Petersburg is expected at the Chaliapin festival.

Yes, let them come, let them watch.

Could you tell us a little about the soloists, whom will the Kazan people hear?

Before the dress rehearsal, before the appointment to the party for the premiere performances, I do not like to talk about the soloists. On the one hand, it turns out that someone stands out. On the other hand, I don't know how it will go yet. Because it may happen that someone will not reach the premiere.

Why does a German make the scenography for a Russian opera?

This German comes from Karaganda. Then he went to study in Moscow, studied with Oleg Sheintsis, for 25 years worked as the main designer of Hermitage, when the Union collapsed, he went to Germany under the repatriate programme, while continuing to work in Moscow. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and Harry Hummel some time ago designed my play Salome in Minsk. He works perfectly with the latest technology, with video projections, so I think the set design of The Tsar's Bride will be interesting.

By Tatyana Mamaeva