The Opera Left Hander is now on CD

A couple of weeks ago the Mariinsky label presented a new CD with a recording of the Rodion Shchedrin’s opera The Left Hander. The opera was a present from the composer to the 60th jubilee of Valery Gergiev and the opening of the new Stage of Mariinksy Theatre in St. Petersburg.

Nikolai Leskov’s The Lefthander is a popular Russian short story eminently suitable as the subject of an opera. The plot is grotesque and exaggerated but this is contrasted by striking and expressive characters. The two Tsars, Alexander I and Nikolai I, make an appearance in the tale, which also incorporates the Winter Palace, the English court, a burlesque comedy, a tragedy, laughter and tears. A closer examination of this work reveals the skillful juxtaposition of two different worlds: British rationality and Russian irrationality.

Then there is the protagonist of the story, a cross-eyed, uneducated crafts man from Tula ‘with golden hands’. This figure, it seems to me, is a combination of the salient and typical aspects of the Russian national character: individualised talent, quick thinking, self-irony, an indifference to life and a fatal passion for alcohol. This is paired with the eternal Russian theme, authority versus the common people. A genius unrecognised in his own country. I composed the opera for the inauguration of the new stage at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Mariinsky II. The opera will be directed and conducted by Valery Gergiev, who is also the dedicatee of the opera. Rodion Shchedrin

The premiere of the opera took place on the 23rd of July 2013 in St.Petersburg on the new stage of Mariinsky Theatre. The recording of the opera in the SACE quality and a book in English and Russian is greately accepted not only in Russia but also abroad.

The BBC3 referred to the recording as the Disc of the week. Moreover the BBC said the music is very lively and cheerful.

The music magazine of BBC points out the flourishing and modern character of Shchedrin’s music. The folk instruments underline some Slavic nostalgic, the vocal parts are according to BBC are extremely colorful and tricky. The best Left-Hander is said to be Andrey Popov who sings the lead role in the opera. And of course Christina Alieva as a floh adds up to the picture.

The magazines Diapasone and Pizzicato as well as many well known internat pages connected with the classical music point out the the great orchestra work and vocal characteristics of soloists and choir of the Mariinksy Theatre.

The Telegraph commemorates the opera as one of the best add ons to the ouevre of Rodion Shchedrin.

The CD can be purchased via the Internet Page of the Mariinsky Theatre: