"Helikon-Opera" building in Bolshaya Nikitskaya street, Moscow
What is “Helikon”?
What is “Helikon”? Some people think it is a mountain in ancient Greece, where singers and musicians die for the sake of Apollo and muses. The others are convinced that Helikon is nothing else but a massive wind instrument. But first of all, for a quarter of a century this word has been associated with a musical theatre, founded in Moscow on April 10, 1990 and united the new talents.
Dmitry Bertman, the People’s Artist of Russia, General-Director and Artistic Director and the founder of Helikon-Opera, has staged over a hundred productions in Russia and abroad in such countries as Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, France, Sweden, and Estonia. The production team includes the acknowledged masters: Chief Conductor of the theatre — Vladimir Ponkin, People’s Artist of Russia; Set and Costume Designers — Igor Nezhny and Tatiana Tulubyeva, Honored Artists of Russia; Light Designer — Damir Ismagilov, Honored Art Worker of Russia; Choreographer — Edwald Smirnov, winner of international competitions; Principal Chorus Master — Evgeny Ilin.
The theatre company of Helikon-Opera, initially consisting of seven enthusiasts, counts more than 500 persons nowadays. It includes a good ensemble of soloists, many of whom are Honored Artists of Russia, winners of international competitions and awards, as well as symphonic orchestra and chorus of the musicians giving concerts at the best sites of Moscow besides participation in the repertoire productions. The soloists of Helikon-Opera appear on the most prestigious opera stages of Europe and America. Almost all the artists of the chorus have diplomas of conductors and choirmasters.
Every season Helikon-Opera presents to the Moscow audience more than 200 performances and each of them gives the audience the joy of contact with live art. Today the theatre repertoire consists of more than 75 unique productions. Helikon-Opera always tries to withdraw from “convenient”, worn out stage impersonations to surprise with novelty and audacity of conception, bright vocal and dramatic performance, taking care of the composer’s idea at the same time. Its shows are sold out for every performance. This is one of the most interesting and visited theatres of the Russian capital.
Scene from "Les Dialogues des Carmelites"
Helikon-Opera has won a reasonable recognition of opera professionals that may be proved with nine awards of “The Golden Mask” in various categories at different times, prizes of the Moscow Opera Festival, the “Gvozd Sezona” (Nail of a Season) Awards of the Russian Union of Theatre Workers.
The theatre is popular not only in Russia, but also abroad. It collaborates with the modern musicians of the highest rank. The production “Die Fledermaus” conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, became quite an event in the musical world (Evian, France, 2000). Production of “Aida” as a part of the festival devoted to G. Verdi as well as the concert of the Helikon chorus and orchestra featuring Roberto Alagna (Strasburg, France, 2001) excited a great interest. Opera “Norma” with the brilliant Maria Gulegina opened the Festival Summer-2004 in Santander (Spain); the concert of the theatre artists with Angela Gheorghiu took place at the same location. The European press justly appreciated “Nabucco” by G. Verdi staged by Dmitry Bertman (Paris and Dijon, France, 2004). The part of Abigail there was performed by the prima donna Maria Gulegina and a soloist of Helikon-Opera Svetlana Sozdateleva. One year later Dmitry Bertman put the opera on the stage of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint-Petersburg. The conductor of the play was maestro Valery Gergiev. “Nabucco” in the Bertman’s production featuring Placido Domingo and Maria Gulegina entered the celebration program on the occasion of opening Mariinka-2.
Scene from "Nabucco" by G. Verdi in Dmitry Bertman's production (Paris, France)
Helikon-Opera is a permanent participant of the international festivals “Bartok+” (Miskolc, Hungary), “Birgitta” (Tallinn, Estonia), “Al Bustan” (Beirut, Lebanon), San-Sebastian (Spain), the Festival of Music and Dance in Bangkok (Thailand), and others. In 2010 “Boris Godunov” by M. Mussorgsky edited by D. Shostakovich opened the festival in Santander (Spain), while “The Makropulos Case” by L. Janáček was welcomed at the festival devoted to this composer in Brno (Czechia). “The Tsar’s Bride” by N. Rimski-Korsakov finished the program of the Russian Culture Festival, organized by the Social and Cultural Initiatives Foundation supported by the Ministry of Culture (Cannes, France, 2011). Helikon-Opera was the main participant of the largest musical forum of the Baltic Region — Saaremaa Opera Days (Estonia, 2012). The theatre artists gave the gala-concert at the 153rd General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau, Paris (2013).
During the international tours Helikon-Opera is welcomed not only by audiences but also by critics. Numerous reviews in respectable press such as Financial Times, Le Monde, The Independent, The Washington Post, Le Figaro, and International Herald Tribune show an active participation of the theatre in the world musical process.
From 2007 the building in Bolshaya Nikitskaya street, 19/16 was under reconstruction. A unique renewal project with the adjustments for the theatrical needs was developed by a group of the Mosproekt-4 architects under the supervision of Andrey Bokov, President of the Russian Union of Architects. In accordance with the project there are two new halls for 200 and 500 seats in possession of Helikon-Opera. At the time during the reconstruction works the creative team was located in Novy Arbat avenue, 11. For eight years 17 plays were produced on this stage: “Boris Godunov” by M. Mussorgsky, “Siberia” by Umberto Giordano, “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” by G. Rossini, “Le nozze di Figaro” by W. A. Mozart, «Rasputin» by J. Reise, “Kalinka-opera”, “Cartoon-Opera”, “Being a Guest at Opera Fairytale”, “Vampuka, the African Bride” by V. Ehrenberg, “The Love for Three Oranges” by S. Prokofiev, “Das Liebesverbot” by R. Wagner, “Back in the USSR!”, “KALMANiYA”, “Cartoon-Opera”, www.nibelungopera.ru, “Un Ballo in Maschera” by G. Verdi, “La Belle Helene” by J. Offenbach. In 2009 Helikon-Opera and “META” Enlightenment Foundation represented the world premiere of the opera “Tsarina (Catherine the Great)” by D. Tukhmanov on the stage of the Aleksandrinsky theatre of Saint-Petersburg. The Moscow premiere took place in the State Kremlin Palace. In the capital the play was also staged in the Bolshoi Theatre and the Theater of Operetta. With the support of “META” Enlightenment Foundation there was an unequalled broad-scaled tour throughout Russia — “Tsarina” was shown in 15 Russian cities from Saint-Petersburg to Vladivostok.
Scene from "Tsarina" by D. Tukhmanov in Dmitry Bertman's production
Dmitry Bertman was given a privilege to be a stage director of a grandiose event — the Opera Ball of Elena Obraztsova, devoted to her 75th Anniversary. In the historical concert on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia the chorus of Helikon-Opera appeared together with such world stars as Anna Netrebko, Maria Gulegina, Jose Cura, Dmitry Khvorostovsky, Yusif Eyvazov, and Olga Peretyatko (2014).
Makvala Kasrashwili, Elena Obraztsova, Anna Netrebko, Dmitry Bertman, Yusif Eivazov and others
Elena Obraztsova Opera Ball, 2014
Dmitry Khvorostovsky and Asmik Grigoryan in "Demon" by A. Rubinstein, joint production of Helikon-Opera
and Moscow State Philharmonic
In summer 2015 Helikon-Opera finished its work in the Novy Arbat avenue by the premiere of “La Belle Helene” by J. Offenbach and started to prepare for coming back home to the Bolshaja Nikitskaja street.
On the 2nd of November, 2015 Moscow musical theater "Helikon-Opera" under Dmitry Bertman officially opened the 26th season in its native manor house in the Bolshaja Nikitskaja street.
The Grand Opening Ceremony was attended by Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Tolstoy, the Chairman of the State Duma Sergei Naryshkin, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Vladimir Medinsky, Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, Head of the Department of Culture of Moscow Alexander Kibovsky, Deputy Mayor in the Moscow Government on Urban policy and Construction Marat Khusnullin. Among the honored guests there were People's Artists of the USSR Joseph Kobzon, Zurab Sotkilava, Vera Vasilyeva, People's Artists of Russia Yury Vedeneev Svetlana Varguzova, Igor Kostolevsky, Lev Leshchenko, Gennady Khazanov, Nilolay Tsiskaridze, artistic directors of Moscow theaters, famous actors and singers, sponsors, TV presenters and many others.
From the 2nd to the 8th of November the solemn gala concerts were held in Stravinsky Hall in honor of the Grand Opening of historical stage. The friends of the theatre, world opera stars Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Olga Borodina, Alexander Antonenko, Olga Guryakova, Vasily Ladyuk, Boris Statsenko, Veronika Dzhioeva, Hasmik Grigoryan, Elena Zelenskaja and Inva Mula, performer of the famous aria of Diva Plavalaguna in the cult film "The Fifth Element", congratulated Helikon with its long-awaited opening.
The premiere of "Sadko" by N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov became the first performance, made on the new stage of the Stravinsky Hall on the 4th of November, 2015.
In the season 2015/2016 another three opera premieres "Eugene Onegin" by Tchaikovsky (re-creation of the legendary performances K., Stanislavsky 1922), "Pygmalion" by L. Cherubini and "Dr. Haas' by A. Sergunin upon libretto by Lyudmila Ulitskaya were performed at Helikon-opera.
Its 26th birthday "Helikon-Opera" celebrated on Mars. The theater invited the audience to a series of gala-concerts "Martian opera", a colorful phantasmagoria about opera life in space.
On March 8, 2016 on the initiative of Dmitry Bertman, a special music project, dedicated to the 75th anniversary since birth of the legendary actor of theater and cinema of Andrei Mironov took place at Helikon Opera. "Bachelor’s party of Andrei Mironov" was broadcasted on Culture TV-Channel on May 2, 2016. This evening famous actors Sergey Bezrukov, Yuri Vasilyev, Alexander Oleshko, Yevgeny Dyatlov, Sergei Makhovikov, Yuri Chursin, Anton Eldarov, Alexei Goman, Ruslan Alekhno sang fo Helikon spectators. Musical gifts for International Women's Day were prepared by soloists of "Helikon-Opera" theater Vadim Zaplechny Alexei Isayev, Vadim Letunov, Alexander Miminoshvili, Andrey Palamarchuk, Alexander Klevich, Mikhail Egiazaryan, Dmitry Skorikov, Mikhail Davydov, Maxim Perebeinos, Peter Morozov, Andrey Palamarchuk, and invited soloist Dzambolat Dulaev.
On April, 25 at Helikon-Opera with the participation of the First theatrical award "Crystal Turandot" a new international multicultural project Liga Maestri took place. The ceremony was dedicated to opera diva Maria Guleghina. Concert "Viva Maria!" united soloists and drama actors - winners and nominees of the First theatrical award "Crystal Turandot" on the stage of Helikon-Opera. This evening famous actors Alla Demidova, Sergei Shakurov, Daniel Spivakovsky, Igor Mirkurbanov greeted Maria Guleghina. Soloists of Helikon-opera Konstantin Brzhinsky, Igor Morozov, Maxim Perebeinos Dmitry Skorikov, Dmitry Khromov, Dmitry Yankovsky, choir and symphony orchestra of "Helikon-Opera" under Valery Kiryanov took part in the project. The presenter of the ceremony was Evgeny Knyazev.
On April, 27 at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of Moscow State Philharmonic with participation of Helikon-Opera a concert performance of Bellini’s "Norma" took place. World opera star Maria Guleghina, soloists of Helikon-Opera Ksenia Viaznikova, Mikhail Guzhov, Irina Reynard, Ilya Govzich, Dmitry Khromov, artists of the choir and orchestra of "Helikon-opera" took part in the performance. Conductor Konstantin Khvatynets.
The 26th season was completed with Leoncavallo’s "Pagliacci" in Dmitry Belyanushkin production.
In the next 27th season Helikon-Opera theatre is planning three premieres. The first one is Puccini’s “Turandot”, which is going to take place on January 28, 2017 in the context of an international project "Eurasian Opera". The stage director of the performance is Dmitry Bertman, set and costumes will be created by the Chinese designer Camellia Koo, light designer is a famous American Thomas Hase, who worked on many Broadway musicals and performances in the largest theatres of USA and Canada. Music Director of the performance is famous Russian conductor Vladimir Fedoseyev. The project will be held with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation and the Department of Culture of Moscow.
On April 22nd 2017 Helikon-opera will perform the second premiere of the season - "Il Trovatore" by G. Verdi in Dmitry Bertman's production. On June 1st "Chaadsky" opera in Alexander Manotskov production will be held. The stage director is Kirill Serebrennikov.