Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk

Friday night, in the Kongresu Rumai in Vilnius, a concert performance of this opera by Shostakovich. The orchestra was the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra under its chief conductor, (now Professor) Gintaras Rinkevicius, and eight singers from Latvia (6) and Russia (2) - why not Lithuania? I cannot remember hearing the conductor being described as professor before, and I wonder if a vacancy has arisen - in which case, who left the conducting faculty at the music academy?

It would have helped if I had gone after reading the story of the opera. Basicly, like the other Lady Macbeth, she causes murder and mayhem all around her. This is an early work of the Composer, premiered in 1934. Very popular it was at the time (the music is really quite Soviet), until Stalin went to see it, and left before the end (as did I, since it is a long, very noisy opera - and everyone ends up dead). After that, it was curtains for this opera until much later. The opera was criticized in 'Pravda' for being for bourgeois people, 'bourgeois' being a really really bad insult at the time.

The Vilnius performance included not only the orchestra, but also a brass band spread throughout the orchestra, the Kaunas State Choir and the aforementioned soloists. Needs to be said that the conductor loves big music, and often puts on operas even though he has a symphony orchestra. Very good singers, all of them. I felt a bit sorry for a couple of singers who had very minor roles, and sometimes sang phrases like 'Shto?' (what?) and that almost was the extent of their roles. Must have practiced for hours on that!

Tenant has moved out of the flat. I see that putting a tea light directly on the furniture can cause some damage....