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25 November 2023 (Sat), 18:00 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - Mariinsky II (New Theatre) - Stars of the Stars Conducted by Maestro Gergiev Opera "War and Peace" opera in two acts by Sergei Prokofiev

Running time: 3 hours 55 minutes (till 21:55)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for "War and Peace" opera in two acts by Sergei Prokofiev 2022

Conductor: Maestro Valery Gergiev

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Set Designer: George Tsypin
Costume Designer: Tatiana Noginova
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Musical Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva
Stage Director: Andrei Petrov
Director: Irkin Gabitov
Set Designer: Paul Brown
Director: Graham Vick
Stage Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Choreography: Sergei Gritsai
Piano: Irina Soboleva

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Opera in 2 act

Performed in Russian with synchronised English supertitles

Premiere of this production: 11 March 2000, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

opera in two acts (2000 Production)
Music: Sergey Prokofiev
Production by Andrei Konchalovsky

Libretto: Sergey Prokofiev and Mira Mendelson-Prokofieva
after the novel of the same name by Lev Tolstoy

Musical Director: Valery Gergiev
Director: Andrei Konchalovsky
Set Designer: George Tsypin
Costume Designer: Tatiana Noginova
Lighting Designer: James Ingalls
Principal Chorus Master: Andrey Petrenko
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva

Co-production with the Metropolitan Opera

2000 Production

… It was a performance about Russia and her vast lands and history. An opera about both Tolstoy and Prokofiev that has a contemporary Weltanschauung.

Irena Leina. Kultura

Konchalovsky's solution is brilliant: the action takes place on a convex dome like the curved surface of the Earth. This nicely reflects the circularity of the waltz music in the “peace” themes, while its ceaselessly changing landscape gives the “war” theme a dizzy, global feel. All this is splendidly cinematic: under swirling Turner skies , the battling armies and oppressed multitudes shunt endlessly to and fro while acts of casual brutality and hopeless heroism suggest war's pity, terror and confusion. Prokofiev's atmospheric music emerges in all its glory thanks to Gergiev's magic in the pit.

Michael Church. The Independent

Konchalovsky has brilliantly met the fundamental task: to stage a vivid, dynamic, visually intense production, to embody the heroic and patriotic idea of the opera without any false pathos. An entire gallery of Russian characters, living, unpretentious, natural and life-like, comes to life, contemplates, suffers and acts within the space of the opera. On the huge stage of the Mariinsky Theatre, rigged out with the new imported rotating circle, the stage director stealthily, like an army commander, has mixed up Russian and French regiments, a partisan division and the peasant militia, one after another recreating the Battle of Borodino, the Shevardino Redoubt, Moscow streets aflame and the shooting of French “arsonists”. The auditorium burst into applause when the pure starry sky was reproduced on the white synthetic back curtain of the stage, the Universe with its myriad stars, the impetuously rushing clouds of smoke, the white stone walls and golden cupolas of Moscow illumined by the flame. Also effective was the rousing “red cockerel” of the fire with its spreading wings.

Larisa Kazanskaya. Russian Music Gazette

This is a serious effort, influenced no doubt by the perceived tastes on the international audience that awaits it. And Konchalovsky has shunned any imposed outside “interpretation”. George Tsypin's sets emphasize the opera's cosmic nature by placing the action on a convex surface, apparently the top of a huge, mostly unseen globe. Tatyana Noginova's period costumes – especially the soldier's uniforms – are spectacular in their detail. The singing was splendid by any standard and little short of astonishing when one bears in mind that all 57 roles (after the cuts) are cast solely from the company.

George Loomis. Musical America

Your heart thumps when you hear the delicate, inexpressibly tender melody of the waltz and suddenly the stage rumbles and flies upwards under the feet of the dancing Natasha and Andrei, carrying off strange faces, figures frozen still, Sonya, Pierre, Akhrosimova, the entire disordered world in all its varied colours… And the director’s discovery so stuns us with its unexpected subtlety and the psychological truth comprising the very essence of Tolstoy’s deep words.

Olga Gladkova. Smena


Part 1 (Peace)

The Overture or the Epigraph usually precedes the action

Scene 1: After dark, in the garden of Count Rostov's country estate, May, 1806

Andrei, who is a guest there, is depressed by the loss of his wife. Natasha, who also cannot sleep, looks out of her window and tells Sonya how beautiful the garden looks in the moonlight, and Andrei recovers his spirits.

Scene 2: New Year's Eve, 1810

At a ball in St Petersburg attended by the Tsar, Pierre encourages Andrei, who is attracted to Natasha, to ask her to dance. Anatole, also attracted to her, asks Hélène to arrange an introduction.

Scene 3: Town house of Prince Nikolai, February 1812

Count Rostov and Natasha visit Prince Nikolai's home. He is the father of Andrei, to whom she is engaged. Andrei has been abroad for a year. Princess Marya indicates that her father will not see them, and Count Rostov departs. However, the Prince, dressed eccentrically and behaving boorishly, does appear, and Natasha realises that he does not approve of the marriage.

Scene 4: Pierre's Moscow house, May 1812

Hélène tells Natasha that Anatole is attracted to her, and, after some hesitation, Natasha hears his declaration of love and agrees to meet him.

Scene 5: Dolokhov's apartment, 12 June 1812

Dolokhov has made the arrangements for his friend Anatole's elopement with Natasha. The coach-driver Balaga, Dolokhov and Anatole drink to the escapade and to the latter's mistress Matriosha.

Scene 6: Later that night

Natasha discovers that Sonya has given away her secret to Madame Akhrosimova, with whom they are staying. Anatole and Dolokhov are sent away by Gavrila, and Akhrosimova reduces Natasha to tears. Pierre arrives, reveals that Anatole is married, and agrees to ask Andrei to forgive Natasha. He shyly admits that he himself would want to marry her if he were free. Natasha makes her peace with Sonya.

Scene 7: Later still

Hélène is entertaining Anatole, Metivier and an Abbé. Pierre, returning home, upbraids Anatole and demands that he leave Moscow immediately. He agrees, and Pierre is left alone to bemoan his own circumstances. Denisov arrives with the news that Napoleon and his army are crossing into Russia. War is inevitable.

Part 2 (War)

The Epigraph is usually performed here if it was not used at the start of Part 1.

Scene 8: Near Borodino, 25 August 1812

Amid preparations for the defence of Moscow, Andrei and Denisov discuss utilising partisans to make life difficult for Napoleon's army. Pierre, wanting to observe the scene, arrives, and he and Andrei embrace, perhaps for the last time. Field-Marshal Kutuzov offers Andrei a position on his staff, but Andrei prefers to go into battle with his own regiment. The battle starts.

Scene 9: Later that day

Napoleon ponders his position, first refusing to commit more men, then agreeing. An unexploded cannonball lands at his feet and he kicks it away.

Scene 10: Two days later

Kutuzov and his generals are holding a Council of War at Fili, near Smolensk. The army will be at risk if Moscow is to be defended to the last - but if the army retreats, Moscow will be at the mercy of the French. Kutuzov decides that only by retreating, and potentially sacrificing Moscow, will there be any hope of victory.

Scene 11: Moscow is burning

The city is on fire because its citizens try to avoid a surrender. Pierre is caught up among some Muscovites, including the veteran Platon Karataev, who are accused by the French of fire-raising. As the asylum and theatre burn, lunatics and actresses flee - but Napoleon has to admit that the courage of the people has frustrated his plans.

Scene 12: In a peasant's hut at Mitishi

The wounded Prince Andrei, delirious, has been evacuated with the Rostovs from Moscow. Natasha, who had been unaware that he was among her fellow evacuees, visits him. She tries to apologise for her conduct, but he again declares his love for her, and they sing of their happiness as Natasha reassures him that he will live. He falls asleep, and his heartbeat (conveyed by an offstage chorus) stops for ever.

Scene 13: November, 1812

On the road to Smolensk, the retreating French are escorting a group of prisoners through a snow-storm. Karataev cannot keep up and is shot, but Pierre and the others are rescued by the partisans. Denisov tells Pierre that Andrei is dead but that Natasha is alive and well. Kutuzov and his men rejoice in their victory, and celebrate the indomitable will of the Russian people.

Schedule for "War and Peace" opera in two acts by Sergei Prokofiev 2022

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