Bard SummerScape explores fifty shades of grey in Rubinstein’s dour “Demon”
July 28, 2018 - Fifty Shades of Grey
Too bad a lunar obscure was not manifest in a Hudson Valley on Friday night. The blood-red moon would have done a ideal backdrop for a opening of Russian composer Anton Rubinstein’s uncover Demon during Bard SummerScape. The continue compensated with a lightning-punctuated tempest, harmonizing with a video projections of drenching sleet that launched this distinguished new prolongation by Thaddeus Strassberger.
The uncover is a rarity, during slightest in a United States, yet it should not be. The eponymous disagreeable suggestion spurns his Creator’s adore for a woman’s some-more full-blooded passion. He torments a princess in a Caucasus with tip visions, murdering her fiancé and seducing her even within a walls of a priory to that she tries to escape.
For all a abnormal elements, a demon is a tangible type, a tortured Byronic anti-hero. Mikhail Lermontov, author of a overheated yet classical source poem, was “married to a large volume of Byron,” as his cousin once put it.
A expel of Russian singers ensured unqualified palliate with a low-pitched sense and Russian pronunciation, nonetheless some singers stood out for their perfect power.
Soprano Olga Tolkmit was frequency a frail lady as Tamara, frame a fluent potential of her voice into a vivid performance. High records during soothing dynamics infrequently eluded her, yet when indispensable her tip operation wailed like a bloodcurdling siren.
The Demon of baritone Efim Zavalny could have used some-more of that force. Strassberger’s use of a handful of matching supernumeraries, who done a Demon seem to teleport around a stage, amplified Zavalny’s captivating theatre presence, during one indicate crouching on Tamara’s chest like a vampire in Henry Fuseli’s portrayal The Nightmare. Even so, a vital climaxes of a measure missed a symbol yet some-more monster snarl from a lead character.
The best performances came serve down a expel list, commencement with a Angel of mezzo-soprano Nadezhda Babintseva. A defender figure who does a bad pursuit of safeguarding Tamara, her voice imposed itself like a blade from all corners of a stage. Video projections of a swift shade and an aureole of light (designed by Greg Emetaz and JAX Messenger, respectively) usually magnified a outcome of her admonitory tone.
Alexander Nesterenko’s drastic effort done one truly bewail a early exit of his character, Prince Sinodal, murdered by a Demon in Act I. A hastily figure in prolonged hair and prolonged garment (costumes by Kaye Voyce), Nesterenko elicited good beauty from a character’s adore song, one of a many beautiful pieces in a opera. (Strassberger here combined a good hold by carrying Tolkmit seem as a resounding prophesy visiting a Prince in his dreams.)
Bass Andrey Valentii resonated with consanguine gravitas as Gudal, Tamara’s aged father, and a oppulance casting continued with mighty mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Egorova in a teenager purpose of a Nanny.
Director Strassberger needlessly difficult a account structure by display a joining of Tamara to a priory during a finish of a initial chorus, actions afterwards steady where they are ostensible to start in Act II. He so expel a story mostly as Tamara’s paranoid delusions, giving a sense of an violent princess being cared for by a nuns.
A backdrop of concentric arches evoked a empty gray of a convent, where Tamara and other nuns slept fitfully in an arcade of friar cells that rolled on and off theatre (sets by Paul Tate dePoo III). By contrast, riots of tone seemed in Tamara’s wandering memories: flower petals flung adult by a sisters soaking washing and generally a intemperate marriage scene, overhung by images of abounding rugs and tapestry.
Leon Botstein conducted a American Symphony Orchestra, selecting to perform a finish measure including a outlandish marriage ballet. In choreography by Shorena Barbakadze, a Pesvebi Georgian Dancers–acrobatic group with swords and bucklers matched by puzzling women floating in white dresses and red veils–captured a furious suggestion of a Caucasus, a segment between a Black Sea and Caspian Sea that so preoccupied Lermontov.
For all his musicological rigueur, Botstein’s conducting was not always clear, heading to some garb disagreements between array and platform. The Bard Festival Chorale, good prepared by James Bagwell, also had difficulty following Botstein’s kick during times, yet they clear themselves nobly in a perfectionist choral parts. The ASO’s train reportedly arrived late since of traffic, call a ten-minute check to a start of a show, yet they negotiated a prolonged dusk with skill, some intonation smudges in a strings aside.
Rubinstein’s use of potion harmonica, signaling a Demon’s soul-disturbing devout energy in Act II, echoes Donizetti’s use of a instrument in Lucia, yet here it was mostly awkwardly out of balance with a doubling flute. Touches of percussion, including a evocative “iron gong” of a look-out listened in Act III, dull out a fascinating, constrained web of sound.
Demon continues by Aug 5. fishercenter.bard.edu; 845-758-7900