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The Polenov’s opera “The Ghosts of Hellas”

The premier of the first movement of V. Polenov’s opera “The Ghosts of Hellas” took place in the Theater Hall of Saratov conservatoire.

Vasily Dmitrievach Polenov is a well-known Russian artist, master of landscapes and historical pictures. But it is little known that he created music, he had beautiful bass voice and even worked in academic choir.

V. Polenov was fond of Russian poet M. Lermontov and wrote romances to his lyrics. Also he wrote music for choir, orchestra, violin and piano, but the most famous and significant is his opera “The Ghosts of Hellas”.

The opera was written in three movements, libretto was created by Savva Ivanovich Mamontov. The composer defined genre of his opera as “a lyrical picture of the ancient world’s life”. The opera is set on the island of Milos at the beginning of the first century AD. The main characters are young temple priestess Danae and the painter Agesander.

First premiere took place on 12th March, 1906 in the Big Hall of Moscow Conservatoire. First artists were amateur musicians. Vasily Dmitrievich created scenery and costume sketchers himself. The second time opera sounded in Tarus and was never performed after that. So, Saratov staging of this opera is the first one after more than 100 years break!

Producer and music director of the staging is Olga Sklyarova, conductor - Andrey Butenko. Singers are students of Saratov conservatoire: Agesander – Nikolay Cherepkov, Danae – Viktoriya Uvracheva, Ivik – Ivan Yurov, Arena – Tatiyana Yezhova. The project is supported by the Russian theatrical union.

The director of Rachmaninov’s museum “Ivanovka” Alexander Ermakov, who was one of the people, that wanted relive Polenov’s opera, attended the show. Piano scores of the composition were edited both by “Ivanovka” and Polenov’s Museum.

The premiere of full opera will take place on March, 11th in Saratov Conservatoire. It is especially significant because Polenov’s 175th anniversary is celebrated in 2019.

 Please, find photo by the link

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