Vampuka, the African Bride


Perfect Opera

Libretto by Vladimir Ehrenberg

Stage Director – Dmitry Bertman
Music Director – Vladimir Ponkin
Production Designer – Andrey Klimov
Light Designer – Damir Ismagilov
Stage Choreographer  – Edwald Smirnov
Playing time: 1 hour 25 minutes (one intermission)
Premiere – April 10, 2010

Dmitry Bertman's "Vampuka" is the illustrated ABC of an opera staging. The composer's aim was to make fun of all the cliches. This "opera, perfect in all aspects", was written in 1909 by Vladimir Erenberg, one of the founders of "Distorting Mirror" theatre, at his own libretto.

The parody, which laughs at the opera routine, had a great success. "Vampuka" word became a common noun, meaning all stencilled and ridiculous in opera.

The premiere of the performance was held on the 1st of April 2005 in Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre. "Helikon-Opera" offered the renewed version of this opera anecdote by the theatre's 20th anniversary. The performance is coproduction of Vishnevskaya Opera Centre and  Moscow Musial Theatre "Helikon-Opera" under Dmitry Bertman.


Act I
Vampuka’s plot is referred to eternal plots, which never stop worrying hearts of real opera lovers.

Vampuka the bride is knocking around the African desert. Nobody knows who’s bride she is, she is just a bride. The army of Ethiopians is searching for her, because Strafokamil, the king of Shalyapin’s scope, is wishing to marry Vampuka.

The noble aged man Merinos, also a king, but the secret one, is showing Vampuka a place where her father is buried and orders her to cry. Vampuka is crying and and faints from excessive suffering. Young Lodyre is determined to bring Vampuka a cup of water to save her.

Vampuka is coming to consciousness, the classical scene of recognition of Lodyre follows. The characters pour out their feelings in lyrical duet.

But the Ethiopians are watchful, they are approaching the couple in leaps and bounds. The ideal chasing scene follows. It was crowned with success, the hateful Strafokamil is calling Vampuka his wife and she can only state the sorrowful act.

The king makes the sign and Ethiopian dances begin. Lodyre enters the event as a singer, but Strafokamil discloses him and wants him to be executed.

The happiness of Ethiopians is suddenly broken. There comes Merinos, who seizes power and decides to execute Strafokamil instead Lodyre. Everybody welcomes the hero.

Act II
The admirable Vampuka, young and handsome Lodyre, terrible Strafokamil, Merinos, choir and ballet… The story continues to develop, but the experienced spectator will sort out the events even without synopsis.

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