PROSE is an opera based on texts by Yury Mamleev and Anton Chekhov, whom the creators of this opera consider to be two of the harshest, most uncompromising writers in the 150 year tradition of Russian realism. A full century separates the times in which they worked, but their manner of exploring human nature and social relationships is timely even today – or, to be exact, is especially timely today. Composer Vladimir Rannev interprets Yury Mamleev’s story “The Bridegroom (1980), and fragments of Chekhov’s story “The Steppe (1888) as di erent stages in the development of a single story. The former is an example of “cruel” prose, the latter is meditative and virtually event-free.
Mamleev’s story is simultaneously the hyper-realistic and phantasmagorical exploration of an incident that occurs in a common Russian family, changing it radically and incontrovertibly.
The boy Yegorushka, the hero of Chekhov’s “The Steppe,” is traveling to be raised by distant relatives. He is thrilled by the natural world surrounding him, but is already preparing for the discovery of a new, alien and terrifying world – the world of people.
We see before us a single person, captured at di erent moments in his life, as if Chekhov and Mamleev had written about one and the same life, and the very same anxieties. The di erent types of texts give rise to a tension that dictates a principal di erence in the way they are presented. In turn, this gives rise to the dramaturgical nature of the opera, and helps reveal to the viewer a statement about the complex nature of the relationships among people in contemporary society.
Composed and directed by Vladimir Rannev
Designed by Marina Alexeeva
Lighting designed by Sergei Vasilyev
Musical director: Arina Zvereva
Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes
First night: November 20, 2017,
at the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre in Moscow
The press about Prose
“This composition is capable of stunning. It is a radical great-grandson of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk. Vladimir Rannev employs musicians of tremendous virtuosity, who, for almost an hour and a half, work on the outer limits of their physical capabilities.” (November 22, 2017)
“A miracle has happened at the Electrotheatre. The appearance of this production should be compared with the landing of aliens. Rannev’s Prose, based on stories by Chekhov and Mamleev, is a completely new degree of thinking. It is impossible to imagine what kind of hellish work must stand behind the subtle and fragile beauty of the vocal ensemble’s work.” (November 22, 2017)
“Suspense, aesthetic bliss, and philosophical freedom – this is what the viewer conquered by this modern opera remains with.” (November 26, 2017)
“A performance of technological harmony and beauty, in which the interplay of textures is not inferior to the richness of the music.” (November 23, 2017)
“In the absence of instrumental accompaniment, which makes the vocals seem especially ethereal, one hears the pulse of that genuine ‘life of the human spirit,’ which Stanislavsky dreamed of materializing on stage. Vladimir Rannev’s opera Prose is an important milestone in the biography of the genre.” (December 1, 2017)
“Complexity is what Rannev demonstrates with this show. Forget literary meanings –the complexity here of form alone, both theatrical and musical, is sufficient.” (December 1, 2017)