Opera based on Nikolai Gogol's comedy.
Translation and adaptation: Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk.
The idea of this show took possession of my imagination a few years ago, and the more obstacles piled up on the way of its implementation, the more stubbornly I struggled to achieve my goal. Dmitri Shostakovich alone is the pinnacle of operatic difficulty, just as Richard Strauss, whose two most important works produced by the Baltic Opera went on to become great successes of my musicians. I am positive that we are thoroughly prepared to take up such a challenge. However, we are about to raise the bar even further in this project, which shall consist of two works: The Gamblers and Rothschild’s Violin.
Shostakovich had a beloved pupil, Fleischmann, whom he considered a genius and for whom he prophesied a great career. He persuaded him to write an opera based on a literary text of his liking. Fleischmann chose a short story by Chekhov, Rothschild’s Violin, and proceeded to sketch a few fragments of the score. Meanwhile, the war broke out. The young, belligerent composer volunteered for the front and soon died there. Distraught, Shostakovich took Fleischmann’s work with him into exile in Siberia, where amongst many other activities he was also writing his new opera The Gamblers, based on a play by Gogol. Paradoxically, he never managed to finish his own work, but he did complete and orchestrate his pupil’s score.
Many years later, another of Shostakovich’s pupils decided to complete his master’s work, and wrote the missing bars, or rather two thirds of The Gamblers. It was Krzysztof Meyer, a Pole, who continued the work of the ingenious Russian. At my fervent request he agreed not only to shorten the opera so that The Gamblers could be performed in one evening along with Rothschild’s Violin, but he also allowed to be convinced that it would be great to add a chorus finale to this short piece. In this way we have in our project the music of the master and two of his wonderful pupils, one of whom was lost in the mists of time, and the other became one of the greatest creators of Polish contemporary music. The sum of their efforts will create a fascinating operatic experience, which our company will strive to deliver with the help of an excellent conductor Michał Klauza, two directors and their eminent mutual designer, Magdalena Maciejewska, currently one of the most outstanding set designers in Polish theatre.
I invited to this project Andrzej Chyra, who stands out among Polish actors not only thanks to his great talent and cult status, but also because he is a professional director and a connoisseur of classical music. His operatic debut may well become a sensation not only because he performs the profession of a celebrity to perfection, but mostly thanks to his brilliant staging ideas and his passion for opera, which makes him unique in his milieu. I will have the honour of participating in this project as the director ofRothschild’s Violin and I hope that I will also not disappoint my partners in my role as General and Artistic Director. The opening was to be held in 2012, however, for many reasons we were forced to postpone it until January. I trust that this time we shall succeed and our audience will get a chance to see and listen to a work never before performed in such a compilation.
|staging and direction||Andrzej Chyra|
|set design||Magdalena Maciejewska|
|dramaturgical cooperation||Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk|
|conductor's assisntant||Rafał Kłoczko|
|director's assistant||Paweł Faust|
|set designer's assistant||Anna Cierpiał|
|preparation of soloist||