Opera premieres, a vaudeville and a love story: A theatre guide for the week

Opera premieres, a vaudeville and a love story: A theatre guide for the week
Antigone by Yuri Lyubimov, the premiere performance of an opera based on Billy Budd, a musical performance about split personality, the daily life of post-war Berdichev, family tiffs and conflicts starting out of nothing, vaudevilles and touching love stories – these are the must-see performances picked by mos.ru.


Antigone at the Theatre Na Taganke

Date: 30 November

Time: 7pm–8:15pm

Venue: Theatre Na Taganke, 76/21 Zemlyanoi Val St.

Age restriction: 16+

Antigone by Sophocles and the Song of Songs by Solomon are fused in this production by Yuri Lyubimov, who skillfully “couples ideas that are miles apart.” In so doing, he has created a work of powerful resonance.

In terms of form, the performance is reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies with their prominent chorus. The chorus voices characters’ thoughts, expresses people’s sentiments and conveys the will of gods. The poetic and symbolic Song of Songs helps the chorus narrate the Antigone and Haemon love story. An ode to human love evolves into praise for an everlasting, all-absorbing and eternal love.


Opening night of the opera Billy Budd

Date: 1 December

Time: 7pm–10pm

Venue: Bolshoi Theatre, 1 Teatralnaya Square

Age restriction: 0+

Adapted from the novella by American author Hermann Melville, this performance – a co-production by the Bolshoi Theatre and English National Opera – is one of the most anticipated premieres of the season.

The opera tells the story of the sailor Billy Budd, who, in 1797, served on a British warship and was falsely accused of plotting a mutiny and executed. The opera conveys the novella’s humanistic message and its protest against inhumanity and brutality.

There are no female parts in the performance but male roles are accented in a way that helps reveal the character’s personality. The orchestra creates an atmosphere of seas growing rough ahead of a storm. The Bolshoi’s new stage will be transformed for the occasion into the HMS Indomitable.


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Date: 2 December

Time: 7pm – 10:30pm

Venue: Mossovet Theatre, 16 Bolshaya Sadovaya St.

Age restriction: 0+

A musical performance in two parts based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella and the musical adaptation by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse.

The story deals with the split personality of its main character – clever and gifted Dr Henry Jekyll who notices the first signs of boundless hatred and aggression in himself. He ends up completely transformed as Edward Hyde. The production graphically illustrates the conflict between high society and the social underbelly of exotic Soho, lifts the lid on the world of aristocrats’ hidden passions, lets the audience into the pure intentions of people on the margins and exposes the romantically selfless illusions and heinous crimes of the lone genius.   



Date: 2 December

Time: 6pm – 9:15pm

Venue: The Mayakovsky Moscow Academic Theatre, 19/13 Bolshaya Nikitskaya St.

Age restriction: 16+

The story of two sisters, Rakhil and Zlota, and their family. They sew dresses, argue and curse each other, make jam and cook soups. The other member of the family is the mischievous teenager Vilya, who also never misses an opportunity to curse them.   

The production presents a detailed portrait of post-war daily life in the Soviet Union, including a Singer sewing machine, the characteristic dinner table, beds with vertical iron rails at the head and the Berdichev water tower that is reconstructed on the stage.


From Evening Until Noon

Date: 3 December

Time: 6pm – 8:45pm

Venue: Moscow New Drama Theatre, 2 Prokhodchikov St.

Age restriction: 16+

From Evening Until Noon is based on the drama by acclaimed Russian playwright Viktor Rozov.

His drama Forever Alive secured the first success of the Sovremennik Theatre and was adapted for the screen in 1957 as The Cranes Are Flying, which was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Viktor Rozov was one of the most popular playwrights of the 1960s-1970s and theatres most often chose to stage his dramas. 

From Evening Until Noon begins with a typical evening in the family of prominent author Zharkov. His adult children Nina and Kim and beloved grandson Albert are listening to his new epoch-making novel. The family’s happiness is ruined when Kim suddenly falls asleep. The old man feels indignant and insulted.

The outstanding playwright Viktor Rozov is known for his remarkable ability to keep the audience captivated and give it dramatic insight into the conflicts that emerge quite unexpectedly. The conflict reaches its thrilling climax at night, as night is not only the time to rest and dream but also to make confessions and revelations.  

Guests start to arrive, including Nina’s former lover Lyova Gruzdev, a scientist from Siberia, who is the person responsible for all the misfortunes in her private life; Zharkov’s friend Yegoryev, who makes no bones about describing Zharkov’s works as trivial; Kim’s former spouse; the wife of an authoritative diplomat Alla, with whom Kim is still in love. It’s as if the past has suddenly burst into the author’s home and demanded honest answers to questions that have gone unanswered.

One short summer night became a night of truth for the Zharkov family. The main challenge is to keep the family together and hold onto their humanity, but will the characters rise to the occasion? Everything becomes clear in the morning. As the saying goes, an hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. 


Nightmare in Rue de Lourcine

Date: 3 December

Time: 7pm – 8:30pm

Venue: Satire Theatre, 2 Triumfalnaya Square, Bldg. 1

Age restriction: 16+

An entertaining plot, dances and satirical songs, jokes, spoofs and tricks – the vaudeville  Nightmare in Rue de Lourcine features all of this and more.  

One morning, respectable rentier Lenglume sees an unknown man in his bed, whose murder he learns about from a newspaper. To make things worse, Monsieur Lenglume’s nephew says that yesterday he saw his uncle exactly where the crime was committed. By all indications, the man is the murderer. What has really happened will become clear in the finale.


Love and its death in La Traviata

Date: 4 December

Time: 7pm – 9:15pm

Venue: The Kolobov New Opera Theatre, 3 Karetny Ryad, Bldg. 2

Age restriction: 16+

This is not a romantic love story but a tragic story of the death of love. The show begins and ends with the death of Violetta, who tries to break free of the vicious circle she finds herself in. Other characters do not just show compassion for Violetta and Alfred, they mourn for them.    


The Cherry Orchard at Maly Theatre

Date: 4 December

Time: 7pm–9pm

Venue: Maly Theatre, 69 Bolshaya Ordynka St.

Age restriction: 12+

People’s Artist of the USSR Igor Ilyinsky’s staging of The Cherry Orchard dramatises a changing world that leaves no one unscathed. The generation to which Ranevskaya and Gayev belong has become a thing of the past. The old Russian gentry, sentimental and unpractical as they are, are giving way to Lopakhins with their assertive business-like manner. 

The premiere took place on 2 January 1982. The production was revived on 9 February 2013.