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Culture news, 11.04.2003 14:36

Premiere of Igor Stravinsky's opera "Oedipus Rex" in Mariinsky Theatre

Valery Gergiev Premiere of Igor Stravinsky's opera - "Oedipus Rex" - was successfully held on April 10th in Mariinsky Theatre. Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio Oedipus rex is widely acknowledged as one of the most original music-theatre works of the twentieth century. Stravinsky called Oedipus Rex an “opera-oratorio” and instructed that it be staged with minimal movement; the principal singers are to wear masks. Crucial to the work’s aesthetic was the decision to set a Latin text – a choice, Stravinsky wrote, with “the great advantage of giving me a medium not dead but turned to stone and so monumentalized as to have become immune from all risk of vulgarization.” The impersonal grandeur of Stravinsky’s retelling is signalled by the opening chorus. The musical trajectory – a throbbing engine of fate – is as undeflectable as the drama. In spite of Stravinsky’s principles and pronouncements – that music “is powerless to express anything at all” – the opera culminates in catharsis. Sophocles’ great tale of submission to fate resonates with Stravinsky’s religious sensibility: of submission to God.

The stage director of the Mariinsky performance is Jonathan Miller, the main roles were performed by Zlata Bulycheva, Oleg Balashov, Grigory Karasev, Yevgeny Nikitin, Mikhail Petrenko, Vladimir Felenchak. The premiere performance was conducted by Valery Gergiev.

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