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Season of Premières

 

The Storm Premiere

opera Kát'a Kabanová by Leoš Janáček in three acts

2 hours
one interval
csperformed in Czech (with Russian surtitles)
12+for viewers over 12 years old
The Storm
Artists
Marfa Ignatjevna Kabanová (Kabanicha) Natalia Biryukova
Tichon Ivanovic Kabanov Dmitry Karpov
Katerina (Káta) Tatiana Ryaguzova
Savël Prokofjevic Dikoj Yury Monchak
Boris Grigorjevic Evgeny Nagovitsyn
Vána Kudrjás Boris Stepanov
Varvara Sofia Fainberg    debut

Conductor Peter Feranec
Credits
Libretto by the composer after the play by Alexander Ostrovsky The Storm

Musical Director of the production and Conductor: Peter Feranec
Stage Director: Niels-Peter Rudolph
Stage Designer: Volker Hintermeier
Costume Designer: Sue Bühler
Principal Chorus Master and Artistic Director of Chorus: Vladimir Stolpovskikh
Assistant to Musical Director: Valentin Bogdanov
Director of the revival: Margarita Kunitsyna-Tankevich
Assistants to Director of the revival: Elena Piskunova, Vyacheslav Kalyuzhny
Lighting: Alexander Kibitkin
Principal Pianist: Marc Vayner
Pianists: Maria Kopyseva, Maria Mikirtumova
Chorus Masters: Alexey Dmitriev, Sergey Tsyplenkov
Czech Language Consultant: Elena Kolomiytseva
Stage Manager: Olga Kokh

Information partner of the production:

Business FM

Premiere at the Mikhailovsky Theatre: 16 December 2010
Revival of the production: 20 November 2016

Leoš Janáčeks opera, based on the play by Alexander Ostrovsky, was originally named Káťa Kabanová by the composer but has returned to the playbill with its original literary title. Lauded as an undisputed musical masterpiece of the 20th century, it encompasses a wide range of emotions. The expressive music not only evokes notions of love, fear, despair, and dreams of happiness, but also foreshadows the monumental changes to and devastation of a world based on prejudice and self-delusion.

Act I

Scene 1

A small Russian town, sometime in the 1920s. The young teacher Vána Kudrjás rhapsodizes over the afternoon view of the Volga, to the amusement of the literal-minded housekeeper of the adjoining Kabanov home. They see two men approaching  the overbearing merchant Dikoj and his nephew, Boris Grigorjevic . When the merchant discovers that Kabanicha, matriarch of the Kabanov family, is not at home, he stalks off, leaving Boris to explain to his friend Vána why he puts up with such abuse: his parents are dead, and in order to collect his inheritance, he must treat his uncle with respect. And he confesses that he is secretly in love with Káta, the young wife of Kabanichas son, Tichon. The two men depart as old Kabanicha and members of her household return from vespers. Kabanicha berates her son for his lack of attentiveness. He tries to please her. At a sharp reply from Kabanicha, he and his wife Káta try to tell the old woman they love and respect her. Tichons temper snaps at being told he spoils his wife. Tichon complains to Varvara, foster daughter of the family, who retorts he would rather drink and forget his troubles than stand up for Kátas rights.

Scene 2

Káta tells Varvara how free and happy she felt as a child, constantly dreaming. Even now, she admits, she has dreamed of having a lover. Before she can say more about the man who attracts her, Tichon comes to say good-bye: he is leaving on a short trip to Kazan at his mothers behest. Káta begs him not to go or else to take her along, but he refuses. When she asks him to make her swear to speak to no strangers during his absence, he wonders what is wrong with her. Kabanicha announces that it is time to leave, adding that Tichon must tell his wife how to behave while he is gone. Tichon dutifully repeats that Káta must treat Kabanicha like her own mother and always act with propriety. Then he bows to his mother, kisses her and Káta and hurries away.

Act II

Scene 3

Kabanicha criticizes Káta for not making an ordinary display of grief over Tichons absence. After she has left, Varvara shows Káta the key to the far part of the garden: she plans to meet her lover there and hints that Káta might want to do the same, giving the key suddenly to her. Káta hesitates but decides that fate has willed it: she is going to meet Boris. She steps outside. Kabanicha reenters with the drunken Dikoj, who says she is the only person he can talk to. He ended up on his knees, blubbering, asking Kabanicha for a servile sort of love. She primly tells him to get hold of himself and that he should come back later.

Scene 4

Waiting for Varvara, Vána amuses himself with a song about an independent-minded young girl like his sweetheart. To his surprise, Boris appears, having received a message to come there. Varvara arrives, cheerfully picking up Vánas song, and they head down to the river. When Káta appears, Boris proclaims his love. She is hesitant at first, seeing only sin and ruin, but finally her pent-up feelings pour out, and she embraces him. They too go down to the river Volga. Vána and Varvara return, full of enjoyed love. As the rapturous voices of the second couple are heard, Vána and Varvara satisfied watch this wonderful night going on.

Act III

Scene 5

An approaching storm drives Vána and his friend, Kuligin, to a shelter, where they are joined by other strollers. When Dikoj appears, Vána tries to conciliate him by talking about a new invention, the lightning rod, but this only angers Dikoj, who insists storms are not electricity but Gods punishment. When the rain lets up, they all leave the shelter, and Vána runs into Boris and Varvara. The girl reports that Tichon is back, and Káta seems very upset. Kabanicha approaches with Tichon and Káta. She only seems frightened by the returning storm, but she confesses to Tichon in front of everyone that she dallied with Boris during her husbands absence. Then she runs out into the tempest.

Scene 6

As evening approaches, Tichon looks frantically for Káta along the river bank. Varvara and Vána decide to escape to Moscow, where they can lead a life of their own. Káta appears, aware that her confession served only to dishonor her and humiliate Boris. Her life is a constant torment, and she longs to see her lover one last time. And he appears, surprised to her, and they embrace. He says he will leave to another town. Her mind wandering, she bids him farewell. As he walks off, she thinks how nature will renew itself over her grave, then throws herself into the river. Kuligin sees her jump and calls for help. Tichon rushes back, followed by Kabanicha, whom he blames for Kátas self-destruction. Meanwhile, bystanders try to help. When Dikoj brings Kátas body and lays it on the ground, Tichon flings himself down, sobbing. Coldly, Kabanicha thanks the bystanders for their assistance.

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