An "Opera-operation" from Boris Yukhananov an Dmitri Kourliandski – premiere on Colta.ru
By Dmitry Renansky
One of the key events of the capital's opera autumn is the Russian premiere of Boris Yukhananov and Dmitri Kourliandski's Octavia. Trepanation on October 17-19. It will be shown as part of the Territory Festival, while the FANCYMUSIC label will continue its long-term cooperation with the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre by releasing an opera recording performed by the Questa Musica ensemble under the direction of Dmitry Matvienko, with the participation of prominent Russian electronic engineer Oleg Makarov. The release will be available on iTunes and Apple Music beginning October 18, but you can listen to (and watch) a fragment from Octavia right now – and here's why you should do that.
Yukhananov and Kourliandski's opera entered the history of Russian theatre long before it was first played in Muziekgebouw in the summer of 2017 – in Amsterdam's main venue for new academic music. Octavia was a joint production of the Electrotheatre and the Holland Festival: for the first time in many years, a European Class A theatre forum not only co-produced, but also commissioned a new theatre production from Russia. For the reputation of Boris Yukhananov's crew, this project meant and means a lot: by the time Trepanation premiered, they had already produced Drillalians, and Vladimir Rannev had already unveiled his opera Prose. But even two years ago the phrase, “when we say 'new Russian opera' we mean the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre,” was familiar not only in Russia but also in the West.
Octavia returns to Moscow after a 30-year period. Boris Yukhananov staged his first production of Seneca’s tragedy as a dialogue with fragments of Leon Trotsky’s essay about Lenin in 1989, unleashing a landmark performance for the late Soviet theatre underground on the stage of the assembly hall of one of Moscow's housing offices. One might think the 2010s were bound to happen as they did so that Octavia could be reincarnated – this time in the form of an “opera-operation,” as its authors define the composition's genre. It is a 90-minute interdisciplinary project standing on the crossroads of contemporary music, installation and theatre. COLTA.RU will return to the premiere at the Electrotheatre next week, but for now, one can think about what place Dmitri Kourliandski's new work occupies in the composer's opera portfolio: in the FANCYMUSIC catalog, it will take its place next to Nosferatu (2014), Drillalians (2015) and Nekyia (2019).