Moscow’s fall season of theater is up and running, with plenty of productions that are accessible to everyone, regardless of your level of Russian. Here are our picks for 2018-2019.
The fall season opened with new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera "The Golden Cockerel,” based on a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin, which premiered at the very end of the last season. The director is the head of Helikon-Opera Dmitry Bertman, but the team is international, it’s a joint production of Helikon Opera and the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. It will be performed again in January.
On Nov.14 Mozart's "The Magic Flute" will premier in two versions -- for adults and for children. The creative team that worked on decorations is led by Moscow city hall official, chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov, while the costume designer is contemporary artist Sasha Frolova.
19/16 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa. Metro Chekhovskaya, Arbatskaya. helikon.ru/en/
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theater
One of the most talked about premieres of the last season, "The Triumph of Time and Disillusion" returns to the theater in the fall. It’s directed by Konstantin Bogomolov, “enfant terrible” of Russian theater, who was recently forced to leave MKhT. It’s the very first oratorio by Baroque composer George Handel, dated 1707, before it was expanded into better known “The Triumph of Time and Truth.” Apart from Bogomolov, this particular production is also interesting because the original libretto was reworked by Vladimir Sorokin, one of Russia’s best-known contemporary fiction writers.
On November 14 the Academic Music Theater will premiere opera “Frau Schindler” by American composer Thomas Morse. Influenced by Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List,” this opera tells the story of Emily Schindler, the wife of Oscar Schindler. Emily helped her husband rescue more than 1,000 Jews during World War II. Morse spent ten years studying the subject while working on the opera.
17 Ulitsa Bolshaya Dmitrovka. Metro Chekhovskaya. stanmus.com
Oleg Menshikov, Yermolova Theater’s Artistic Director and one of Russia’s most recognizable off- and on-screen actors, will direct his own version ofShakespeare's “Macbeth" and play the title character in the new production. All the roles will be played by men, just as they were during Shakespeare's life. Menshikov’s very own brass band will provide the soundtrack.
5/6 Ulitsa Tverskaya. Metro Okhotny Ryad. ermolova.ru
Meyerhold Center (TsIM)
On November 23 the Meyerhold Center, aka TsIM, will premiere a new work by Yury Kvyatkovsky, a popular theater director and creator of a cult Russian musical “Cops on Fire.” His new production will be based on Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Entitled “Zarnitsa” (the name of a military game for young people in the Soviet period), the classic has been reworked by up-and-coming playwrights Andrei Rodionov and Ekaterina Troyepolskaya and performed by actors from the late Dmitry Brusnikin's Workshop. Teenagers have to go through an initiation in the form of a patriotic quest in a magical forest. “Zarnitsa” is also a made-up band, which will release music online before the premiere, making this production a kind of mockumentary.
23 Ulitsa Novoslobodskaya. Metro Mendeleyevskaya. meyerhold.ru
The Moscow Art Theater (MKhT)
After Oleg Tabakov, one of the pillars of Moscow theater community, passed away last spring, Sergei Zhenovach became the new head of MKhT (Moscow Art Theater). One of the first premieres under his supervision is production by critically acclaimed director Yury Butusov from St. Petersburg “Man of Fish.” Written by up-and-coming playwright Asya Voloshina, “Man of Fish” is about an apartment in St. Petersburg inhabited by several literary scholars and bohemians. “Seryozha” is another interesting premiere at MKhT this fall - based simultaneously on Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and Vasily Grossman’s “Life and Fate.” It’s written by prominent contemporary poet Lev Rubinshtein and directed by Dmitry Krymov, who recently left the School of Dramatic Art.
3 Kamergersky Pereulok. Metro Okhotny Ryad. mxat.ru
Theater of Nations
“Theater of Miracles” is the first Moscow production by rising star Denis Bokuradze. The performance is based on several episodes from “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. The New Space at the Theater of Nations will present several premieres this fall, including a minimalist reimagining of Alexander Ostrovsky's classic “The Snow Maiden” by director Oleg Dolin.
3 Petrovsky Pereulok. Metro Chekhovskaya, Pushkinskaya. theatreofnations.ru
On November 21 Electrotheater will present a new opera by experimental music composer Dmitry Kurlyandsky and the director/contemporary artist Vera Martynov. Called “Parasomnias” and performed by Electrotheater choir, it’s based on a famous text by Stanislav Lvovsky entitled “Soviet Drinking Songs.” The opera combines experimental electronic music and Soviet pop. “Parasomnias” has a traditional musical structure, but it’s not a musical. Intrigued? Check it out.
23 Tverskaya ulitsa. Metro Tverskaya. electrotheatre.com
The biggest premiere at Taganka Theater this fall is definitely “Telluria,” a rare staging of a novel by Vladimir Sorokin, one of the best known writers in today’s Russia, directed by Konstantin Bogomolov, famous for his provocative productions. Divided into fifty unnamed chapters, “Telluria” describes an undefined future of Europe and Russia, when both are divided into a multitude of warring states.
76/21 Ulitsa Zemlyanoy Val. Metro Taganskaya tagankateatr.ru
The main premiere at Gogol Center this year is a production by a guest director, Elmar Senkov. This up-and-coming director from Lativa took “The Misanthrope,” a 17th-century classic comedy by Moliere, and updated it to today's realities. The new translation is Dmitry Bykov, one of the most prominent contemporary Russian writers and poets. Alceste will be played by one of the Gogol Center’s leading actors, Alexander Gorchilin, who’s also known for his work in cinema. The premiere is scheduled for December 3-4.
8 Ultisa Kazakova. Metro Kurskaya.en.gogolcenter.com