Friday, February 8, 2013

Petersburg and Прокофьев

Фанатик. (Fanatic).

It's what I was dubbed by one of my colleagues when I told her I was making a quick trip to St. see a concert performance of Prokofiev's "War and Peace." As soon as I saw it on the Mariinsky's schedule, I knew I had to be there. And the fact that the stars aligned and I finished Tolstoy's novel just before the concert was an added bonus. Now, I don't often get nerdy and operatic in this space, so please bear with me, but some of this music has to be shared. Fanatic may not be too far off...

This doesn't have any video, but it's Vishnevskaya at the Bolshoi. So deal with your lack of video and listen away. This first scene is stunningly beautiful and I wish this excerpt began from the top of the scene and included Prince Bolkonsky's Aria, but you can find some other snippets on your own if you too turn fanatic. I highly recommend doing so.

Next up is Natasha's first ball. First, let me introduce you to the eternally long Soviet film version of "War and Peace" which I'm now working my way through. As should you.

And Prokofiev's musical portrayal. Which was one of the most unforgettable moments in Wednesday night's concert. Complete with Hvorostovsky and subtitles that make Russian seem like a beautifully simple language.

I'll ease off the linkage, but it was necessary that you be introduced to my current love. Or reminded, in the case that you've already met.

Now, St. Petersburg. Today you hear the musical highlights, because that's what has given me a newfound energy and romance with Russia. I took the overnight train to Peter on Tuesday night, got in Wednesday, napped briefly, had a lunch date and made my way to rehearsal! It's always fascinating contrasting rehearsal with performance, and the Mariinsky system is especially unique. Due to the complex nature of their schedule, rehearsals are limited and often will take place on the day of the show. (The Bolshoi will occasionally have rehearsals the day of, but it seems to be a more rare occurrence then our northern counterpart). I would love to hear some of my American singers' reaction if they were placed in said's not how we typically roll. Post-rehearsal bite to eat and then it was back for War and Peace concert style. There are many performances that will stick in my memory for a lifetime, and this will be one. Watching a world-reknowned conductor in the repertoire that is considered his best and hearing the talented orchestra respond was truly stunning. And then there were the singers. Far from shabby my friends. It's not an easy sing and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Was the performance perfection? No. But that's the beauty of our art. The magic is in the creation, rather than the perfection. Sitting in the Mariinsky Concert Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia may have also added to the ambiance.

Thursday night was spend in rehearsals and performance as well, this time in Italian and in the Mariinsky theater itself. I was pretty thrilled with my seat.

I could see the stage from my box as well, but I always love a clear view of the conductor. It must come with the profession.

It's rare that I'll leave an opera early, but when catching a train is a factor, exceptions are made. So was the case with Traviata yesterday evening. For all I know, this Violetta lived.

And here I am. Back at home after a day at school and work. Tired. But inspired.

St. Petersburg: Round 2 (the non-musical) will be coming your way shortly!


  1. Oh my goodness it sounds absolutely amazing. I must read War and Peace.

  2. I've never read it but War and Peace sounds interesting. Yes it does look magical inside the concert hall. I've always enjoyed watching opera and listening to musicians play classical music.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...