Stage Director – Dmitry Bertman
Musical Director – Vladimir Ponkin
Set Designer – Igor Nezhny
Light Designer – Damir Ismagilov
Stage Choreographer – Edwald Smirnov
Choirmaster – Eugene Ilin
Playing time – 2 hours (one intermission)
Premiere – February 27, 2013
Language of performance – German, Russian subtitles
Official partner of the production — UTair Airlines
The premierу of play www.nibelungopera.ru took place at the Helikon-Opera theatre on 27 February 2013. The production is devoted to the 200th Anniversary of Richard Wagner and solves an almost insolvable problem: what way is it better to celebrate the anniversary of the author of thirteen operas not missing anything significant?
Dmitry Bertman made a tricky move — he conceived to present all the thirteen operas by the German genius in one evening, having chosen the brightest and the most emotional vocal and symphonic episodes from each one. In the play composition they are sequenced chronologically, showing the composer’s ascension from the first experiences to the peaks of mastership. The play was named as a tribute to the most grandiose masterpiece of Wagner — tetralogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen”. The first level domain name ru in the virtual address www.nibelungopera.ru symbolizes that it is our, Russian Wagner. While the stage decoration underlines that this Wagner is modern, and today the Valkyries would prefer more comfortable means of transport to the winged horses. That’s why there is an airplane on the stage.
Richard Wagner (1813–1883) who was born the same year as Giuseppe Verdi and Aleksandr Sergeevich Dargomyzhsky, went down in history as a genius opera reformer. Unlike many composers of the previous and our centuries, reforming the genre with the aim of its total elimination, Wagner truly loved opera and perfectly knew its inner side, because he was not only a great opera theorist, but also a great practitioner. He began his career as a choirmaster and then he was a conductor of small German troupes, but as he was 30 he had already become the Master of the King’s Music in Dresden. Wagner studied the entire contemporary repertoire, which had been produced in the three opera empires of those times (Italy, France and Germany) from the ground up; he honored and ardently promoted the German classics — Mozart and Beethoven.
His participation in the May Uprising in Dresden put the end to his successful career of the Master of the King’s Music and turned Wagner into an emigrant for twenty years. But he was not afraid of leaving the reached milestones and striving for new horizons, to nowhere. Operas “Rienzi”, “Der fliegende Holländer”, “Tannhäuser” created in 1840s had already been staging in Germany while their author was cherishing new ideas. Tetralogy “Der Ring des Nibelungen” was designed not for the existing theatres, but for an ideal theatre, which should appear in future. And Wagner had really managed to build the theatre of his dream, where only is compositions were performed (and this theatre has been directed by his descendants down to our days). This intention was almost unreal initially. The composer had long been looking for support, particularly he tried to find support in Russia: nothing strange, considering reigning of the German dynasty and the German-speaking court. But eventually the theatre of his dream was built in German Bayreuth under the auspices of King Ludwig von Bayern and not least of all thanks to the activities of hundreds departments of the Wagner Society.
Wagner didn’t use the services of librettists, he was an individual author — poet and composer (as well as director). The more original his ideas became, the longer he thought over them, sometimes it lasted for decades. Still having no opportunity to return to his motherland he created truly national art. “Der Ring des Nibelungen” is based on the German mythology, the plots of “Tannhäuser” and “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” revolve around the problem, what a real German song should sound like, and moreover the latter turns out to be the anthem to the sacred German art. Richard Wagner never perceived opera as an entertainment and was struggling against its turning into a light commercial genre for all his life. In the “solemn sacred stage performance” “Parsifal” (1882) he implemented his ideal of opera as a sacred action, transforming people spiritually. At the author’s discretion during twenty years this composition was being performed only in Bayreuth within the sanctuary built up by Wagner in tribute to art.