Shpagin Plant, House of Music

Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971)

Symphony of Psalms for Choir and Orchestra (1930, second edition 1948)

Persephone, a melodrama for speaker, soloists, choir, dancers and orchestra based on a libretto by André Gide (1933)

The musicAeterna Orchestra and Choir
Guest actors and soloists
Alexander Ponomaryov "Vesna" Children's Choir

Director – Anna Guseva
Conductor – Teodor Currentzis

Persephone – Aisylu Mirhafizkhan
Eumolpus – Egor Semenkov

in memory of Herman Vinogradov
Introduction to the play "Persephone. Symphony of Psalms"
based on the poem by Theodor Currentzis "In the month of Anthesterion"
and a fragment from the tragedy of Aeschylus "Prometheus Chained"
Composer: Teodor Currentzis

orchestra and chorus of musicAeterna 
Lada Raskolnikova – sounding constructions of Bikapo
Egor Ananko, Viktoria Kharkevich, Marko Nikodijevic, Luka Kozlovacki – friu  
Vera Sazhina – voice, shamanic tambourine
Yorgos Kaloudis – classical cretan lyre
Alexey Retinsky – cauldron
Sofia Hill – voicein memory of Herman Vinogradov


"The Symphony of Psalms" is one of the most influential works of the 20th century and the most famous of Stravinsky's opuses on a religious theme. Stravinsky's composition has little in common with classical symphonies of the 19th century – as a representative of modernity he was looking for a new expressiveness in it, restrained and devoid of romantic sentiments. The search took him deep into the past, to Bach and the masters of the early Baroque - Giovanni Gabrieli and Schutz with their "Sacred Symphonies". Stravinsky removes "emotional" violins, violas and clarinets from the orchestra, increases the number of wind instruments to get an archaic, organ sonority, and suggests using children's voices instead of women's in the choir. The instruments and voices participate on equal terms in his complex contrapuntal fabric, in the notes one finds typical Renaissance and Baroque madrigalisms – sound illustrations for words and visual images.

The relationship between the spiritual and the secular in the "Symphony of Psalms" is well reflected in the wording of its dedication: "Composed for the glory of God for the Boston Orchestra on the occasion of its 50th anniversary". Having received an order for a concert composition, Stravinsky used it to reflect on the topics that worried him, and interpreted the publisher's request to "compose something popular" in his own way. Having no intention to adapt the music to the mass taste, he used psalms – "poems of praise, but also of anger and judgment, and even curses" – as a well-known ("popular") primary source. The "Symphony of Psalms" freely refers to the musical styles of three Christian denominations at once, without trying to fit the church usage. At the same time, it remains a personal and rather direct religious statement, in which, by Stravinsky's standards, there is surprisingly little irony.

Stravinsky calls "Perséphone" a melodrama, but it's not about a sentimental love story – rather, he means a special form of "reading to music", a common practice at the beginning of the 20th century. From a theatrical point of view, this is a composition of a mixed genre, which combines singing and recitation, an antique choir and lullabies, pantomime and statuesque mise en scene. "Perséphone" was created by order of Ida Rubinstein as a ballet – but it does not resemble the usual dance performances. Its syncretic form refers rather to the "ballets" of Monteverdi's time, in which there was sometimes much more singing than dancing.

In "Perséphone" Stravinsky yet again composes the ritual of spring – albeit not exactly the same as in "The Rite of Spring". Here the music is softer and more lyrical, the orchestra rarely plays in full force, and the myth underlying the plot is not Proto-Slavic, but Antique. Greek mythology and culture in general are extremely important for Stravinsky: resurrecting the pre-Romantic artistic ideal in his work, he restores the attitude to the Antiquity as a model, a living practice, and not as history.

In Stravinsky's and Andre Gide's version, Persephone turns out to be a proto-Christian figure – a child of the gods who voluntarily descended into the underworld out of pity for the souls suffering there and resurrected to a new life under the final stanzas of the choir, in the text of which researchers see references to the parable of the wheat grain from the Gospel of John (12:24). Into the image of Persephone, doomed to wander between two worlds, Stravinsky could also put the personal experiences of an artist standing (like all artists) on the border between aesthetic pleasure in an ivory tower and the bitter reality of daily human suffering.


Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685 – 1759)
Oratorio Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno | The Triumph of Time and Disillusion, HWV 46a (1707)

Director — Elizaveta Moroz
Production Designer — Sergey Illarionov
Music Director and Conductor — Dmitry Sinkovsky
The Orchestra of the Nizhny Novgorod Pushkin State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre  La Voce Strumentale
Dinara Idrisova, Belezza | Beauty
Yana Dyakova, Piacere | Pleasure
Andrey Nemzer, Disinganno | Disillusion
Sergey Godin, Tempo | Time


The Triumph of Time and Disillusion is Handel’s first oratorio composed during his trip around Italy, which became a turning point in his artistic career. Once in Rome, the 22-year-old composer quickly won admirers among the aristocrats and clergy and began getting commissions from them. At the time, there was a papal prohibition on operas in Rome — due to that, oratorios were in fashion, however, they did not differ from operas practically in anything aside from moralizing plots. Such was the plot proposed to Handel by his friend, Cardinal Benedetto Pamphilj; as early as in May 1707 the score of The Triumph of Time and Disillusion was completed. Many years later, having settled in London, Handel significantly revised The Triumph twice — in this way, his first oratorio is (in the third edition) at the same time his last. Still, the early version is still performed more often than others.

The libretto written by the cardinal predictably expresses the ideology of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Young blooming Beauty strives for enjoyments encouraged by Pleasure — but Time and Disillusion keep her on the righteous path. Pleasure is declared the Enemy of Truth — its true ignoble essence is conveyed through the angular and dissonant music in some arias. Beauty chooses heavenly grace instead of deceptive earthly grace, agrees to take monastic vows and suffer punishment for her irresponsible hedonism. In the final aria, she mystically contemplates Eternity (in the symbolically appropriate key of E major) and contemplates mortality, the ephemeral nature of pleasure, and the futility of all things.

Handel composed the oratorio at the peak of his musical imagination and ingenuity. Later, he repeatedly transferred arias from it to his other compositions — for example, the aria of Pleasure Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa became a hit Lascia ch'io pianga in the opera Rinaldo. The music of "Triumph" is so permeated with sensuality that, in fact, refutes the concept of a humble refusal of pleasure, which it is meant to illustrate. This is a frantic, full of vital energy, virtuoso composition extremely demanding of performers. It is written in the style of concerto grosso, which was in its heyday at the time; Handel demonstrates his perfect command of the genre, in no way inferior to his Italian colleagues (the most famous of whom, Corelli, conducted the orchestra at the premiere). The instrumental interlude from Act I, an early example of an organ concerto, depicts a beautiful young man playing the organ in the halls of Pleasure. Researchers consider this piece to be a possible self-portrait of the author, a "sweet Saxon", a favourite of the Roman nobility.

In recent years, The Triumph of Time and Disillusion has been regularly performed in Russia. A new version will be presented by the troupe of the Nizhny Novgorod State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. The musical director and conductor of the production is Dmitry Sinkovsky, one of the leading Russian experts in early music. The director of the production is Elizaveta Moroz, who staged her interpretation of the opera Carmen in the Nizhny Novgorod Opera at the beginning of the year. She is known to the audience of the Diaghilev Festival through the performances Moira FM and SPORY'N'ya / *ergot presented in the last year festival programme.

Wagner: Ouvertures

Concert 26.06 / mo / 20:00—21:30
Wagner: Ouvertures

Soldatov Palace of Culture

On the programme:

Alexey Retinsky (b. 1986)
Water Has No Hair, overture to the overture from Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde (2023, Russian premiere)

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

Vorspiel und Liebestod from the opera Tristan und Isolde (1857 – 1859)
Vorspiel to the opera Lohengrin (1845 – 1848)
Overture to the opera Tannhäuser (1843 – 1845)
Vorspiel to the opera Parsifal (1882)
Siegfried's Journey Along the Rhine from the opera Götterdämmerung (1874)

musicAeterna Orchestra
Conductor Teodor Currentzis


Richard Wagner is one of the most influential composers in the history of music, a cultural hero, myth, and symbol, whose work and views still remain the subject of frenzied debate. Orchestral music belongs to his most indisputable creative achievements: the technical perfection and expressiveness of his instrumentation were recognized even by sceptically minded critics. Wagner was a reformer of the art of orchestration, as well as the founder of conducting practice in its modern form.

Opera overtures form a significant part of Wagner’s symphonic legacy. To the traditional genre of the introduction to the opera, he brings new ideas that have developed in the programmatic symphonic poems of the New German School. Wagner's overture is inseparable from the opera it precedes and it is not only due to their thematic connections. Anticipating the drama, it illustrates not its external events, but the key philosophical problems behind the plot: the conflict of carnal and spiritual love in "Tannhäuser", pessimism and ever-insatiable love longing in "Tristan", the outpouring of heavenly grace into the world in "Lohengrin"… The overtures included in the concert programme form a kind of synopsis of Wagner's mature work, a brief digest of the German heroic epic, which the composer developed all his life, borrowing motifs from chivalric novels, medieval legends, ancient myths, and historical chronicles.

The introduction to "Tristan and Isolde" is preceded by a new work by Alexey Retinsky, composed in the unique genre of "an overture to overture". Retinsky is approaching Wagner in his attention to orchestral colour and the mythological nature of artistic thinking. The title of his composition – "Water Has no Hair" – refers the audience to the romantic and symbolist circle of images, from Wagner's Rhine mermaids to Debussy-Maeterlinck's Melisande.


Soldatov Culture Palace

The programme includes:

Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840–1893)

Francesca da Rimini,
Symphonic Fantasy after Dante, Op. 32 (1876)

Capriccio Italien
on folk tunes for orchestra, Op. 45 (1880)

Romeo and Juliet,
Overture-Fantasy after Shakespeare, TH 42 (1869–1880)

musicAeterna Orchestra
Conductor — Teodor Currentzis


The symphonic evening with the musicAeterna Orchestra is dedicated to Italy depicted in Tchaikovsky's compositions. The most cosmopolitan of the Russian composers of the 19th century, Tchaikovsky travelled extensively throughout his life in Europe, by 1880 having managed to visit the Italian Peninsula three times. The very nature of his talent is more "Italian" than "German": Tchaikovsky appreciates open-hearted emotions and expressiveness of melody, saturates abstract symphonic genres with theatrical drama, and values success with the public higher than the approval of critics. The concert programme encompasses three of his opuses related to Italy musically or in terms of the plot.
The symphonic fantasy "Francesca da Rimini" coexists in Tchaikovsky's creative biography with "Swan Lake" and "Eugene Onegin" - all three compositions are united by the theme of the doomed love. The composer came about with the conception of "Francesca" on his way to Bayreuth for the premiere of "The Ring of the Nibelung"; Tchaikovsky later agreed with critics about Wagner's influence on his score. In the story of Paolo and Francesca, the composer is interested in its dramatic potential in the first place. Tchaikovsky is not prone to abstract searches for sound colour, he is emotionally involved in the chosen plot, emphasizing in it the acuteness of the conflict and the depth of feelings of the characters. Saint-Saens placed "Francesca" musically above Liszt's "Dante Symphony", and cellist Karl Davydov, to whom the author would later dedicate his "Capriccio Italien", called the fantasy "the greatest work of our time." 

In December 1879, Tchaikovsky found himself in Rome during the carnival and, impressed by what he saw, decided to compose "something of the kind of Glinka's Spanish fantasies." A few months later, the score of the "Capriccio Italien" was ready. It indeed succeeds to Glinka's Spanish diptych in many ways – from the details of form and orchestration to the general treatment of the "national" in the vein of entertaining exoticism. Tchaikovsky in "Capriccio" looks at the Mediterranean with a tourist gaze: this is a paradise land where there are no sorrows, struggles and dramas, and sounds radiate joy, light, and serenity. "There is hardly any other composition in Russian classical music which contains not a single atom of gloom," as one of the reviewers summed up after the premiere.
The fantasy overture "Romeo and Juliet" is the only major symphonic composition by Tchaikovsky that does not have an opus number. Tchaikovsky could consider the overture not entirely his composition - since Balakirev's role in its creation, in fact, is teetering on the verge of co-authorship. It was Balakirev (to whom the overture is dedicated) who offered Tchaikovsky the plot, the tonal plan, the main images and even specific pictorial solutions ("fierce Allegro with saber strokes"), and his criticism forced Tchaikovsky to compose whole sections of the form anew, from the entrée to the outro. In "Romeo and Juliet" Tchaikovsky for the first time found his personal formula of symphonic drama: fatal images of doom, sharp contrasts, emotional waves, lyrics isolated and detached from the surrounding storms, tragic denouement of conflict, and ambiguous triumph. And also for the first time in his life he ascended to the top of melodic expressiveness - in the famous theme of love, which Rimsky-Korsakov later recognized as "one of the best themes of all Russian music."