Monday, November 14, 2011

La Scala Is First Foreign Company to Perform at New Bolshoi

Bulgarian Stoyanova and Russian Gubanova rehearse Verdi with Maestro Barenboim
The Moscow Bolshoi Theatre played host to its first foreign guests – the orchestra, choir and lead singers of Milan’s La Scala. This on the heels of the reopening after a six-year renovation. The featured work was Verdi's Requiem with Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano), Fabio Sartori (tenor) and Mikhail Petrenko (bass) under the direction of Daniel Barenboim. "Russia’s Bolshoi and Italy’s La Scala established friendly ties after the two companies exchanged visits in 1964. Those tours were such a great success that the theatres’ leadership decided to hold them on a regular basis. Since then, La Scala musicians have been visiting the Bolshoi every 10 years. They came in the early 1970s, in the late 1980s, then in 2001, this year, and are planning to visit Moscow again. In December, they are staging two ballets and plan to stage an opera in autumn next year. La Scala performers are led by newly appointed musical director Daniel Barenboim, whose name rings more than a familiar bell with Moscow music lovers. Maestro Barenboim says that he is no stranger to Russia either. 'My wife is Russian, so my kids are half Russian too, - he says. – All of my grandparents came from Russia. They emigrated to Argentina in 1903. I first visited the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Then I repeatedly came back again and enjoyed the Bolshoi’s productions from the audience hall. Now, I’m going to perform at the Bolshoi and it’s a great honor for me,' - Daniel Barenboim said in an interview for Russian television on the eve of his visit. La Scala director also explained why his orchestra would play a Requiem, funeral mass, at the Bolshoi. Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi is one of the main pieces in La Scala's repertoire. Naturally, we picked one of the most significant works for our Bolshoi performance, which we see as an event of tremendous importance. Daniel Barenboim invited two Russian singers – Mikhail Petrenko and Ekaterina Gubanova – to take part in the performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Bolshoi. Teaming up with La Scala stars became a good tradition. In different years, La Scala received a host of remarkable Russian opera stars, including Galina Vishnevskaya and Elena Obraztsova. The Bolshoi, in turn, has repeatedly played host to Italian opera celebrities, including Mario del Monaco and Mirella Freni. La Scala’s current Bolshoi tour is accompanied by a number of exhibitions. On display
Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko
at the Bolshoi Theatre are more than 30 costumes made for the top productions of the past 60 years. Among the exhibits are Obraztsova’s and Freni’s stage attire. The Bolshoi’s exhibition at La Scala features works by avant-gardists who painted for the Bolshoi in the 20th century and the history of the Bolshoi’s building in sketches, drawings and photographs. The Bolshoi and La Scala both underwent restoration in recent years. Since La Scala’s renovation preceded the Bolshoi’s, it opened earlier and happily lent Moscow performers its stage while the Bolshoi stage was under repair. The Moscow Bolshoi and La Scala share many other things as well. By a lucky coincidence, they were 'born' in the same year – 1776. La Scala’s construction began in 1776 and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow opened in 1776." Face value for the most expensive ticket was $400, but scalpers were selling them for upwards of $4,000. Welcome to the new Russia. [Source, Source, Source]

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