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Subject: Iolanta at the Maly
From: Johan Ragnevad <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 5 May 1995 05:15:00 MET
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To Bob and all Iolanta-lovers,
I am scrutinizing my memory to remember as much I can from the delightful
performance I saw the day before going for my one-week Sweden-trip.

16.04.95        Iolanta         Maly (Mussorgsky)
Rene            Kovalenko
Iolanta         Loskutova
Marta           Rubin
Laura           Romanova
Brigitta        Cherkasova
Vaudemont       Pishchaev
Robert          Kopylov
Ebi-Chakia (or however you transcribe this into latin letters) Podolchov
(My God! This made me realise that he participated in the Faust-scenes I
reviewed yesterday. This guy looked so young you'd better not be sure about
Voropaev - maybe it was Podolchov!!!) Eh, do you follow?

First, Pishchaev! You know what I think about this tenor. Yes, HE HAD THE
SAME WIG!!! It is incredible. The conclusion is that Western European,
American, and young Russians all are blonds in the Maly's productions.
Further he had a tunic a number of sizes too small making it look like a
daring mini-skirt over his ugly legs in off-white tights. Ghastly! Though,
I have never heard him sing as well as this night. After a fumbling start,
his duet with Iolanta was on the mark and he simply blew the auditorium
away with his high notes (you should have seen the faces of two female
orchestra members communicating with each other when he gave everything).
Maybe it was Loskutova who inspired him. She is really a lovely singer who
could definitely make it at the Mariinsky but probably has larger freedom
staying at the Mussorgsky. Maybe I have said this before, but I still think
she is like a warmer version of Tomowa-Sintow. Together, she and Pishchaev
had a great time and gave me the highlight of the evening.

Pishchaev's friend Kopylov was a pale Robert (observant readers of my
postings may note that he has been pale ever since my first Onegin here).
His big aria was really too effortful to be enjoyable. Also, though better
than Vaudemont's, his outfit was not that more elegant (probably those
costumes would look different on, say, Neil Shicoff and Dmitry
Chvorostovsky).

Rubin was not that much to hang in a christmas tree (as we say in good old
Svedala) :-)

Cherkassova (Gretchen) and Romanova (Countess, Pauline, Olga, Konchakovna,
Bruennhilde, etc. etc.) was luxury casting as Iolanta's friends (maybe they
had nothing better to do on a sunday evening). A pity these roles do not
have more to sing.

King Rene was more angry than singing, but, honestly, he was far less
wobbly than the recorded Petkov.

And so, Podolchov's Doctor. I am so confused... Naming Voropaev as Faust
was based on the fact that his name was listed first, and I still think it
was him. In that case, the "Wagner tenor" was Slavny b then I really do not
know what Podolchov sang. ANYHOW, in Iolanta he was a cautious, well
articulated somewhat vibrating and nervous doctor and probably had not sung
the role for some time (the programme lists four singers in the role (one
of which is Kopylov))

Sorry for confusing you all. The production is efficiently  telling the
fairy-tale in a beautiful set of wroughtiron-trees and arches, lofty and
gracious. Expecially the final scene was very impressively realised (but
the music is so inviting and helps a lot).

Kukushkin had his usual row with the orchestra, commenting aloud on the
incompetence of a player or two. He shaped the score admirable, though not
as detailed and impressive as Rostropovich's recording. This is one Russian
opera where the chorus, particularly the males, does not have that much to
sing - a pity!

Johan

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