08 Dec 2006
The Once and Future King
In a new "Nabucco," Novaya Opera turns the Babylonian king who enslaved the Jews into a tyrant from the 1930s.
By Raymond Stults [Moscow Times, 8 December 2006]
Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Nabucco" first came to the Russian stage for a few performances in 1851. It wasn't much of a success and appeared again only a full century and a half later. Times have changed, however, and these days Russia is giving "Nabucco" quite a workout. Last season in St. Petersburg, the site of the opera's Russian premiere, it was taken up by the Mariinsky Theater. And over the past few weeks, Moscow audiences have witnessed performances by three of the city's four principal opera companies -- in the Bolshoi Theater's staging that revived the opera in Russia five years ago, in a concert version by Helikon Opera and, finally, in a new, fully staged production by Novaya Opera that premiered last weekend.