Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes
The premiere took place on 20 November 2017.
Vladimir Rannev’s opera is based on two texts, Yury Mamleev’s “The Bridegroom” and fragments of Anton Chekhov’s “The Steppe.” The former, an example of “cruel” prose in the literature of Russian realism, is presented visually. The latter, meditative and virtually event-free, is presented in vocal form.
Written in the early 2000s, Mamleev’s story is simultaneously the hyper-realistic and phantasmagorical exploration of an incident that occurs in a common Russian family. After losing their seven year-old daughter in an automobile accident, the Kondratovs are torn out of their customary comfortable life and are bound to learn to live anew. They see their salvation in the “adoption” of Vanya Gadov, the individual who involuntarily caused the death of their daughter. Full of fear as he enters the family of his victim, this unthinking truck driver, an orphan, turns into a tyrant. The boy Yegorushka, the hero of Chekhov’s “The Steppe,” is traveling to be raised by distant relatives. Nature around him begins to resemble his mother, from whom he is now torn, while the new world awaiting him is unclear and terrifying. Yegorushka must find a way to live in this world, perhaps even to be successful in it – that is, essentially, to transform into Mamleev’s Vanya. We see before us a single person, captured at different moments in his life, before and after entering the world of human relationships.
The tension between the two types of texts, vehement and contemplative, is revealed through the counterpoint of the visual and the vocal. At the same time, they are closely connected in a meaningful way – the point is the complex nature of relationships in modern society.
With English supertitles