Serbian Premiere Not Love Alone

First  guest  performance  of  the  Saint Petersburg  Opera  in  Serbia  Madlenianum Opera & Theatre House

Not Love Alone – June 24 2017 – at 7.30 pm

Our friendship, companionship, cooperation started with the staging of Verdi's Traviata by Yuri Aleksandrov in our theater. Instead of the classic setting in the "epoch" and historical atmosphere and costumes, Yuri Alexandrov has made a miraculous modern setting, eroticized, unusual, "lowered" from plebeian salon on the street. This was a revelation for Belgrade, for our habits, and the known tradition of this famous opera performances. Some accepted the staging with joy, others were furious. Our cooperation has deepened, Yuri became a member of our family. Followed by the opera of Leonkavalo Pagliacci, performance which Yuri transformed and made two acts, shows the entire events in the present and works especially on the importnace of certain characters.

After the very successful performing of the operas La Traviata (premiered in 2006) and Pagliacci (premiered in 2011) at Madlenianum, directed by Yuri Alexandrov and with sets and costumes designed by Vyacheslav Okunev, we will have the opportunity to see their artistic interpretations of R. Shchedrin’s opera Not Love Alone and S. Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery. 

Both selected operas are unknown in Belgrade and it seems that the public is better acquainted with the author, Rodion Shchedrin, who visited Belgrade several times with his wife, famous ballerina of the 20th century Maya Plisetskaya. This is an opportunity for author in later years to turn back to the early realization of his opera, the work Not Love Alone scene that opens with kolkhoz and sovkhoz, men and women from the time of communism. The human soul is always fraught with sadness of parting, the beauty of falling in love, female and male encounters. Shortening numerous verbal parts the music parts comes more to the fore.

The plot of the opera is based on the tales of Sergey Antonov with some chastushkas and is dedicated to his wife – the great ballerina – Maya Plisetskaya. “I am writing on a Evgeny Onegin from a collective farm” said the author 1961 and compared the singer of the main role not only with Tatiana from Onegin, but also with Carmen as Not love alone is a story about love and not a melodrama as some might have thought.

Even though the opera was written for the Boslhoi Theatre, Shchedrin tried to omit the so popular at that time monumental ensembles with red banners and wrote a chamber opera about the life of ordinary people. The art director Alexander Tishler and conductor Evgeny Svetlanov couldn’t also help this opera to become the second Evgeny Onegin of Soviet time. 1972 Rodion Shchedrin made a new version of the opera for the opening of the «Moscow Chamber Music Theatre” for the director Boris Pokrovsky which was played for a long time in this version.

It has been played not only in Moscow, but in some cities around Russia, but after some time disappeared from the stages. Today, the director of the theatre “Saint-Petersburg Operá” – Jury Alexandrov brought new life to the opera 2014 and received several prizes from critics of St. Petersburg.

Jury Alexandrov said: “As Rodion Shchedrin received the information about the intention of our theatre to perform the opera was really glad and said he will be waiting with excitement and happiness to the premiere of the new staging as this opera has a very difficult destiny.” One would say what is so special in this opera? The plot depicts a love story that flourishes on a collective farm among dancing, drinking, drama and street parties. But 1961 after the premiere the audience hissed and critics didn’t accept the opera at all calling it mediocre.

The premiere of the Opera Not Love Alone in St. Petersburg sparked public outcry as it did over 50 years ago. Nevertheless, Rodion Shchedrin and Maya Plisetskaya who attended the premiere said it was the best staging of the opera which was made in Russia.  

Jury Alexandrov said about the opera: “The love theme is eternal and is always a topical subject regardless of the fact where it occurs in romantic staging or on a collective farm. Together with the arts director Vyacheslav Okunev we tried to go away from the ordinary collective farm scenery and make it the way that besides the aforementioned we wanted to show the beauty of life and love. In the opera “Not Love Alone” – Love is the main subject, but I highlight “Not Only” as well. What we did is for the audience to decide if they like it or not”. 

We invite all visitors of Belgrade to Opera & Theatre MADLENIANUM BEOGRAD, 11080 ZEMUN Ul. Glavna 32 on 24th of June 2017 at 19:30 to enjoy the very first opera of Rodion Shchedrin.