Saturday, October 29, 2011

Russian Operatic Royalty Attends Bolshoi Theatre Gala

The audience for the reopening of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow was filled with politicians, businessmen, celebrities and some well-known opera singers who performed at the landmark auditoriums throughout their careers.
Mezzo-soprano Elena Obraztsova was sitting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (not pictured) in the Tsar's box which rests in the center rear of the auditorium. 

Soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, widow of Mstislav Rostropovich, was sitting in a special box stage right. 


In addition to guests in the auditorium a number of artists that have been part of the Bolshoi Theatre's history were present through previously recorded interviews, including the late Irina Arkhipova who passed away in February 2010:


Although Russia has two powerhouse opera facilities (the other being that bastion of culture in St. Petersburg led by Valery Gergiev known as the Mariinsky Theatre), it seems odd that so many prominent Russian opera singers were not present for the festivities that reopened the Bolshoi Theatre on October 28 either to perform or just appear as dignitaries. Perhaps this had to do with schedules and the fact that the government was in charge of the invitation list for the evening. Here are some audio clips in their honor:


Anna Netrebko - "O ne rydai, mai Paolo" Francesca da Rimini (Rachmaninoff)


Galina Gorchakova - "''Da, On Rassejalsja'' The Fiery Angel (Prokofiev)


Ljuba Kazarnovskaya - "Den li tsarit" (Tchaikovsky)


Olga Peretyatko - "Lilacs" (Rachmaninoff)


Olga Borodina - "Merknet svet dnevnoj" Prince Igor (Borodin)


Larissa Diadkova - "Duenna's Aria" Betrothal in a Monastery (Prokofiev)


Sergei Leiferkus - "The Field Marshal" Songs and Dances of Death (Mussorgsky)


Vladimir Atlantov - "Kuda, kuda vï udalilis" Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)


Maria Guleghina - "The Cuckoo" (Tchaikovsky)


Yevgeny Nesterenko - "Vas tabor spit. Luna nad nim" Aleko (Rachmaninoff)


Nina Rautio - "Prastite Vy, Xalmy" The Maid of Orleans (Tchaikovsky)


Vladimir Chernov - "Prince Andrei's Aria, Act I" War and Peace (Prokofiev)

Also curiously missing were some major opera singers who participated in a cultural exchange in 1964 between La Scala and the Bolshoi Theatre. Opera stars like Renata Scotto, Fiorenza Cossotto, Leontyne Price and Mirella Freni, all took part in that event and are all still around today. Would that have been too much of a gesture on the part of Moscow? The exchange between companies took place again in 1974 (with Montserrat Caballé and Plácido Domingo) and 1989. Here is an audio clip of Mirella Freni singing "Non mi resta" from L'Amico Fritz at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on September 13, 1964:

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