In Great Britain from 2 to 9 November there will be a major tour by artistes of the Mariinsky Opera, Chorus and Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev.
On Tuesday 4 November there will be important performance by the Mariinsky Theatre under Valery Gergiev at the concert hall of the Barbican Centre in London. There will be a concert performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s opera The Lefthander. This will be the British and, indeed, European premiere, of the work, written by the composer in 2013 following a commission from the Mariinsky Theatre to mark the opening of the new theatre (the Mariinsky-II) and which is dedicated to maestro Gergiev. The lead roles are to be performed by Andrei Popov (the Lefthander), Edward Tsanga (Ataman Platov), Maria Maksakova (Princess Charlotte)Vladimir Moroz (Alexander I, Nicholas I), Kristina Alieva (the Flea) and Andrei Spekhov (a British Under-Skipper).
In The Lefthander, the composer has once again turned to the works of his beloved author Nikolai Leskov. Following The Sealed Angel and The Enchanted Wanderer, The Lefthander will be Shchedrin’s third opera after a tale by Leskov. As the composer says, «Lefty is Nikolai Leskov’s most famous novella. In Russia everyone knows it. Lefty is incredibly rich material for an opera plot. The actual tale in the novella is a grotesque exaggeration. What is it? a Biblical parable, a farcical fairground myth or an epic tale? The characters are vivid, luscious and contrasting. There are the Russian Emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I, the Winter Palace and the British Royal Court. It is a buffonade and a tragedy. Laughter through tears… And if you look somewhat deeper then you can plainly see the artistic contrast of two ways of life – the rational British and the irrational Russian.»
Valery Gergiev has stressed more than once that the premiere of The Lefthander is a key event of this year’s theatre season and the Stars of the White Nights festival: «This is a tremendous event for all Russian music. The opera is totally amazing – both in terms of its orchestral colours and in the precision of the characteristics of the soloists; it has been written for very powerful vocal and orchestral resources.»