Libretto by Luigi Illica
Stage Director – Dmitry Bertman
Music Director – Vladimir Ponkin
Light Designer – Damir Ismagilov
Choirmaster – Denis Kirpanev
Playing time – 1 hour 50 minutes
Premiere – May 18, 2006
Opera of the outstanding composer Umberto Giordano on Russian basis was never performed in Moscow before. The melodrama with tragical final, story of a courtesan who went to the penal servitude following her lover and died in attempt to run away. The librettist Luigi Illika used some motives of Tolstoy and Dostoyevski's works, this is why his production reminds a Russian psychological novel. In one of his remarks he even quoted the verses by N. Nekrasov:
"Come to the Volga and listen, whose moan is heard over the great Russian river..."
A Russian ear will hear native words like "izba" (house of a peasant), "vodka", "troyka" (three horses in a harnessedabreast) and many more, not to say about melodies "Hey, ukhnem".
The action takes place in the first part of XIX century in Saint-Petersburg, Western Siberia and Zabaykalje. The violent passions are roaring in luxirious interiors of Emperor's Petersburg and vast snowy expanses of Siberia, the passions that enthralled the public of theatres in Milan and Paris in the beginning of XX century.
There is a private residence of the courtesan Stephanie in Petersburg. From the outside we can hear the soldier singing. Old nanny Nikona and the valet Ivan are waiting for their Madame since morning. Glebov, Stephanie's whoremaster, enters the room and in a fury finds out that she has not returned yet. At that time prince Alexey appears and other rich admirers of Stephanie. Glebov gives an idea of performing morning serenade under the ring of swords, and then starts playing cards.
Stephanie returns from her secret rendezvous with the young officer Vassily. For him she is a pour embroider. But Vassily who is Nikona's godson, before going to war has decided to come to visit his godmother, and unexpectedly meets his pour beloved. Between Vassily and prince Alexey flashes the fight. Vassily wounds the Prince. Policemen appear and arrest Vassily.
Transit item in Siberia. Officers and dealers are waiting for the arrival of the convicts. Finally the convicts arrive, Vassily is among them. Stephanie who is looking for her beloved appears. From now they will stay together.
Glebov is also in the Siberian prison. He offers to Stephanie to escape with him, but she refuses. Glebov starts fighting with Vassily and tells him all about the past of his beloved one. Vassily is shocked, but he forgives Stephanie.
Easter. Peal. During holiday service in the barracks Stephanie and Vassily are trying to escape according to Glebov's plan. But the conspiracy is disclosed. Fatally wounded Stephanie is dying in Vassily's hands, blessing Siberia, in where she has expiated her sins through suffering, and also where she has found love and a new life.