Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Shostakovich

Mariss Jansons, Martin Kušej – Eva-Maria Westbroek (Katerina Lvovna Ismailova), Ludovít Ludha (Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov), Christopher Ventris (Sergey) – De Nederlandse Opera

Shostakovich's subversive opera directed for stage by Martin Kušej for the composer's 100th birthday! Featuring the Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role, and making her long awaited debut at Der Nederlandse Opera!

In Shostakovich's second opera, the tedium of everyday Russian life determines the fate of protagonist Katerina Ismailova. It is a work about the irrepressible nature of sexual urges, about erotic deeds of violence and liberation. Some of the scenes reached an unheard-of level of explicitness and were likely to have shocked the first audiences, but the work as a whole is an ode to love. The composer employs a polymorphic style with a wide variety of collage-like elements, but classical structures are clearly recognizable as well. The work's initial success was silenced by the publication of an official denunciation of the opera in the official Communist Party newspaper Pravda; this attack heralded a merciless, widespread and long-lasting idealistic clampdown on the Soviet music world.

In 2006, Der Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam programmed Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth. Mariss Jansons, chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and one of the best-known conductors for Shostakovich's scores, made here his first appearance as guest conductor at DNO.

This new production was directed for stage by the Austrian Martin Kušej, who belongs to the new generation of stage and opera directors, having made a name for himself at the Salzburger Festspiele and Staatstheater Stuttgart.

While the divine soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek makes her debuts at the DNO as Katerina Lvovna Ismailova, the opera's veterans take the remaining lead roles: the Russian bass Anatoly Kotcherga (Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov), the Slovak tenor Ludovit Ludha (Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov) and the British tenor Christopher Ventris (Sergei).

Martin Kušej stage director
Martin Zehetgruber set designer
Heide Kastler costumes
Reinhard Traub lighting

Eva-Maria Westbroek (Katerina Lvovna Ismailova)
Christopher Ventris (Sergey)
Vladimir Vaneev (Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov & Old Convict)
Ludovít Ludha (Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov)
Carole Wilson (Aksinya & Femme prisonnière)
Alexandre Kravets (Shabby Peasant)
Nikita Storojev (Chief of Police)
Alexander Vassiliev (Priest & Guard)
Valentin Jar (Teacher)
Lani Poulson (Sonyetka)

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Koor Van De Nederlandese Opera
Mariss Jansons music director

Movie director : Thomas Grimm
Playlists : Russian Music, Love Songs, The Greatest Voices, Shakespeare in Music, The Musical Life in Former USSR
Musical period : Music from the 20th century
Music genres : Voice, Opera

Duration : 02 h 45 min
Location : De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Production date : 2006
Production : © Der Nederlandse Opera / Opus Arte
Available version(s) : RU ST EN, RU ST ES, RU ST FR

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