20 Feb 2006
Falstaff, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg
Raphaela Papadakis seems to like ‘playing with fire’. After her acclaimed performance as the put-upon maid, Anna, in Independent Opera’s production of Šimon Voseček’s Beidermann and the Arsonists at Sadler’s Wells last year, she is currently rehearsing for the premiere this week of And London Burned, a new opera by Matt Rogers which has been commissioned by Temple Music Foundation to commemorate the 350th anniversary of The Great Fire of London.
[Financial Times, 20 February 2006]
At the end of the Mariinsky Theatre's new production of Falstaff, a neon Coca-Cola logo appears blaring "Tutto nel mondo è burla", the text of the joyous closing fugue ("All the world is a joke"). Is it telling the fat knight to change his drinking habits? Perhaps it's too late, for he collapses and is left for dead while the others gleefully traipse off - a bizarre end to a production by the up-and- coming Moscow director Kiril Serebrennikov with more shock value than insight into Verdi's flawless comedy. One scene (sets by Nikolai Simonov) takes place in an upscale fitness centre, another in a dress shop (costumes by Olga Reznichenko).