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The season has opened at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre

Article by Elena Alekseeva

25 September 2020

The dedication concert «Our Tchaikovsky» has opened a new season at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre; artistic director Olga Rostropovich

Chamber vocal compositions, excerpts from operas and instrumental works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky were performed by the soloists, graduates, and students of the Opera Centre. The piano parts were performed by Valery Gerasimov and Georgy Migunov.

The «Our Tchaikovsky” concert at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre, dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s 180th birth anniversary, was carried out in a chamber style. Vocal miniatures and gems of the composer’s romance works prevailed in the program, suggesting intimacy. Excerpts from operas and a fragment of the first part of the Symphony No. 1,  «Winter Daydreams», performed as a four-hand arrangement on two grand pianos, also did not go beyond the chamber manner of the performers’ presentation. Perhaps Joan’s aria from the «The Maid of Orleans” opera, sung by Veronika Ershova and powerfully supported by accompanist Valery Gerasimov, became a major dynamic and outwardly emotional culmination of the concert. But all the same, the musical essence of the aria has only emphasised the drama of the character’s inner reflections, without straying from the evening’s concept of the idea.

The stage decoration gave a certain sad autumn charm. The park alley, covered with dry foliage, diagonally divided the stage into two parts. Two grand pianos stood on either side as their own reflections. The bench with dried flowers was a real continuation of video projections of park landscapes on the backdrop. The scenography was reflected in the general mood of the evening, rather in a minor one. Still, the final turned out to be more major. Joyful hope, boundless happiness were present in the performance of Maria Pakhar and Valery Gerasimov in a romance «Does the Day Reign» to the lyrics by Aleksey Apukhtin.

Daria Bagrova has created a real dramatic scene, expressive in the performer’s reading, in the romance «Was I not a little blade of grass…» to the lyrics by Ivan Surikov. The portrait of the unfortunate girl she painted was convincingly sincere. She lacked the sound of low notes in the climax a little. Andrey Dudin was deeply dramatic in «Nightingale» to the lyrics by Alexander Pushkin and in «Again, as before, alone» to the words by Daniil Rathaus. The voice sounded good, confident in intonation. 

It was fascinating to hear a «Lullaby» to the words of Apollon Maykov performed by Maria Buinosova and Valery Gerasimov and then an arrangement of the same romance for solo piano by Sergei Rachmaninov performed by Georgy Migunov.

The salon atmosphere of romance music in the concert was shaded by the use of violin and cello in some items on the program. So, in the romance «Forget So Soon» to the lyrics by Apukhtin, Maria Pakhar was accompanied by a quartet: Anna Savkina (violin), Ekaterina Braisheva (violin), Alexandra Perlova (cello), Georgy Migunov (piano).

Being in the building of the Opera Centre, a mansion on Ostozhenka street, where everything is imbued with the memory of the great singer Galina Vishnevskaya and her husband, the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, listening to Tchaikovsky’s romances is doubly pleasant. There was a concert duet Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich, in which the cellist Rostropovich accompanied his wife on the piano. Their unforgettable performance of the chamber vocal repertoire is still considered the benchmark. These traditions of great musical taste, sense of style, I dare say, were present at the «Our Tchaikovsky» concert. It was «their» Tchaikovsky.