Romeo & Juliet and Carmen"Romeo & Juliet" and "Carmen"
- Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 7 pm
- Century II Concert Hall
Romeo & Juliet Cast
A Full-Length Ballet in One Act
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Original Choreography by Marius Petipa
Restaged by Elena Radchenko
Set & Costume Design: Elena and Sergey Radchenko Juliet Olga Gudkova Romeo Nurlan Kinerbaev Tibald Evgeniy Rudakov Mercutio Anton Baglikov Paris Denis Onufriychuk Capuletti Father Dmitry Romanov Capuletti Mother Natalia Ivanova Nurse Alina Stenina Priest Ivan Zviagincev
Romeo & Juliet Synopsis
The Capulets are hosting a magnificent celebration; a crowd of guests is dancing in the square near their home. The Montagues, who are the Capulets’ enemies and rivals, were naturally not invited. Nevertheless, Mercutio and Benvolio try to persuade their friend Romeo, Lord Montague’s son, to put on a mask and sneak into the feast with them. Romeo agrees. In the course of the merriment and dancing, Romeo meets Juliet, who unmasks him. They instantly fall in love with each other.
Lady Capulet’s nephew, Tybalt, discovers the strangers at the celebrationand confronts Mercutio. Offended at Mercutio’s sly insults, young men from both families begin brawling, and Mercutio is soon killed by Tybalt. In anger, Romeo confronts and accidentally kills Tybalt, who dies before the Capulets’ eyes.
The Capulets swear vendetta on the Montagues as Romeo escapes. Risking discovery, Romeo steals into Juliet’s bedroom for a secret rendezvous.
Alone for the moment, the pair vow their love in a secret wedding ceremony. Suddenly, Juliet’s nurse appears and warns that Juliet’s parents and Count Paris are coming. Her parents have chosen Paris as a suitor for their daughter. When Juliet tells her parents she doesn’t want to marry Paris, her father is outraged. He tells Juliet that she will marry Paris tomorrow and leaves.
Juliet is stricken with the news. She asks Friar Laurence to give her a hypnotic drug to make her appear to be dead, so she can run away with Romeo. Juliet takes the drug and falls into a deep sleep. Romeo, bursts into Juliet’s bedroom and, not knowing anything of Juliet’s plans, believes that she is dead.
Distraught, and unwilling to live without Juliet, Romeo poisons himself. He sees strange visions and then plunges into darkness. Waking up, Juliet sees her dead lover. Seeing that none of the poison is left, Juliet takes Romeo’s dagger and stabs herself, hoping to reunite with him in the next world.
A Full-Length Ballet in One Act
Music by Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932) after Georges Bizet (1838-1875)
Choreography by Alberto Alonso (1967)
Carmen Maria Klueva Don José Alexander Daev Torero Denis Onufriychuk Corregidor Evgeniy Rudakov Fate Elena Khorosheva Tobacco Girls Olga Sharikova
Rodion Shchedrin created his adaptation of Carmen at the request of celebrated Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, who wished to portray the passionate, highly strung star of Bizet’s Carmen in ballet form. It has become one of the most popular of works in the ballet repertoire and is considered by critics all over the world as a highly entertaining and passionate retelling of the opera.
Don José, a corporal in the military, falls in love with an enchanting, beautiful, and seductive young Gypsy girl named Carmen, a cigarette vendor in Seville, Spain. Carmen later abandons José for the toreador Escamillo, desperately torturing José with her rejection. The final pas de deux, a danced contest between Carmen and Don José, is a simulated bullfight in which the ballerina assumes the combined roles of heroine and Fate in the form of a bull.
About the Russian National Ballet Theatre
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the Perestroika period of the late 1980s. Originally called the Soviet National Ballet, the company was founded by and comprised of graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev, and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.
In 1994, legendary Bolshoi prima ballerina Elena Radchenko was appointed by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. She has focused the Company on upholding the grand national tradition of Russian ballet and developing new talents throughout Russia. The company’s repertoire includes virtually all of the works of Marius Petipa:Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia andLa Sylphide, as well as many other productions including The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and La Fille Mal Gardée.
About Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "Romeo & Juliet" Composer
If Puccini was the Master of Verismo and Verdi the King of Italian opera, then Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the Champion of Paradox. A musical genius and a national hero, Tchaikovsky struggled with his many personal demons, including his homosexuality, his intense emotionality, and his headstrong impetuousness. On his other side, Tchaikovsky was well known for his candor and modesty, his acceptance of criticism and his workmanship. Unfortunately, he was never able to reconcile these two sides and this ultimately led to his very unhappy and tortured life.
Tchaikovsky was born on May 7, 1840 at Votkinsk, in the government of Vyatka, Russia. He was close to his family – his father (a mine inspector), his mother, four brothers, and a sister. At the age of five, he began to study piano, soon revealing his amazing gifts. It wasn’t until he was 21, however, that he began to study music seriously.
In 1863, Tchaikovsky entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory and undertook some private training. The young Tchaikovsky was a master at improvisation, but so unschooled he was unaware of such simple musical tenets as the possibility of modulating to different keys. Tchaikovsky frequently attended the opera and fell in love with the music of Mozart. His diligence became apparent when his composition teacher, Anton Rubinstein, assigned variations as homework. Tchaikovsky sat up all night and prepared 200.
In 1866, Tchaikovsky moved permanently to Moscow where he accepted a teaching position in a new conservatory established by Anton Rubinstein’s brother, Nicholas. It was there that hisFirst Symphony was created, receiving a warm reception by Moscow audiences in 1868. It was also there that Tchaikovsky had his first nervous breakdown, due to the stress of composing theFirst Symphony. Interestingly, Tchaikovsky had asked his former teacher, Anton Rubinstein, to premiere the work in St. Petersburg, a request that was ultimately denied.
Other works followed with less success, including Tchaikovsky’s first opera, The Voyevoda, in 1869, later re-worked into The Oprichnik in 1874. By then Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphonyhad begun winning acclaim, as had his First Piano Concerto. Following these compositions were his Third Symphony and Swan Lake, the tone poem Francesca da Rimini in 1875, and the Rococo Variations for cello and orchestra in 1876. Near the end of 1876 Tchaikovsky was contacted by a wealthy admirer, Nadejda Fillaretovna von Meck, who gave him several commissions and became his sponsor for the next 12 years.
Throughout this period, Tchaikovsky continued to struggle with his homosexuality. Although Tchaikovsky had a brief affair with opera singer Desiree Artot, he was clearly inclined to deny his own nature. In a letter to his brother, Tchaikovsky wrote, “I am aware that my inclinations are the greatest and most unconquerable obstacle to happiness; I must fight my nature with all of my strength. I shall do everything possible to marry this year.” Indeed, he did marry a young woman, Antonina Ivanovana Milyukoff, on July 6, 1877. However, within a month, he discovered they were incompatible and spent the next few months running away from his new wife. He also made a failed attempt at suicide by walking into the Moska River in the hopes of contracting pneumonia. It was at this point, in the late 1870s, that he wrote some of his greatest works, the opera Eugene Onegin, the Violin Concerto, and the Fourth Symphony.
Based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse, Eugene Onegin (1878) tells the story of a girl fascinated by a man who ultimately rejects her and his later remorse. That same year, Tchaikovsky also wrote the Violin Concerto. He wrote Manfred in 1885; the Fifth Symphony in 1888; another successful opera, Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades) in 1890; and the Casse-Noisette (Nutcracker) ballet in 1891. These successes made Tchaikovsky famous throughout the world. He temporarily conquered his stage fright and, in 1888, made an international conducting tour. In 1891, Tchaikovsky came to New York and conducted his own works at the ceremonies of the opening of Carnegie Hall.
By 1890, the inevitable break with Madame von Meck had occurred and, while Petr gained his financial independence, he felt his loss on a more personal than professional level. Madame von Meck, in addition to an income of 6,000 roubles, had provided Tchaikovsky an outlet to air his opinions, beliefs, hopes, and dreams. There has been no particular reason recorded as to why the break between them occurred.
In 1893, Tchaikovsky completed the Pathetique Symphony (No. 6) and conducted it at St. Petersburg to a rather apathetic response. Unfortunately, Petr would not live to see its ultimate success. By most accounts, Tchaikovsky drank an unsterilized glass of water, contracted cholera, and died on November 6, 1893. However Tchaikovsky died, 8,000 mourners attended his funeral as he was buried at St. Petersburg’s Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
About Rodion Shchedrin, "Carmen" Composer
Rodion Shchedrin was born in Moscow into a musical family—his father was a composer and teacher of music theory. He studied at the Moscow Choral School and Moscow Conservatory (graduating in 1955) under Yuri Shaporin (composition) and Yakov Flier (piano). He was married to the well-known ballerina Maya Plisetskaya from 1958 until her death in 2015.
Shchedrin’s early music is tonal, colourfully orchestrated and often includes snatches of folk music, while some later pieces use aleatoric and serial techniques. In the west the music of Shchedrin has won popularity mainly through the work of Mstislav Rostropovich who has made several successful recordings.
Among his works are the ballets The Little Hump-backed Horse (1955), Carmen Suite (1967), based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet (the project had been turned down by both Shostakovich and Khachaturian), Anna Karenina (1971, on the novel by Leo Tolstoy), and Lady with a Lapdog (1985); the operas Not Only Love (1961), and Dead Souls (1976, after Nikolai Gogol’s novel); piano concertos, symphonies, chamber and piano music and other works. He composed 24 Preludes and Fugues after he heard those of Shostakovich. Also remarkable is his Polyphonic Notebook.
The Bolshoi premiered Carmen Suite in 1967 but the fact Bizet’s music was so well known actually worked against its favor at first. Soviet Minister of Culture Yekaterina Furtseva, was repelled by the modernist flavor given to the music and the sexual overtones of both the story and the title character. She banned the work immediately following its premiere as “insulting” to Bizet’s masterpiece. Explaining this, Furtseva commented to Soviet media, “We cannot allow them to make a whore out of Carmen, the heroine of the Spanish people.” When she met privately at the Bolshoi with Plisetskaya and other members, Furtseva called Carmen Suite “a great failure,” the production “raw. Nothing but eroticism. The opera’s music has been mutilated. The concept has to be rethought. I have grave doubts as to whether the ballet can be redone.”
Not long after the meeting with Furtseva, Dmitri Shostakovich called the ministry about Carmen Suite. He told Furtseva that he considered the ballet both a masterly transcription and highly effective dance music. At this time, Shostakovich was First Secretary of the Composer’s union of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic; this made him effectively leader of that union. Even if it were not meant as an official call and regardless of his official position still being subservient to hers, the fact it was Shostakovich calling might have still carried some cachet. Because of this personal intervention, the ban was lifted. Plisetskaya confessed in her autobiography that without Shostakovich’s help, the ban on Carmen Suite might have remained permanent.
As well as a distinguished compositional career (for which he was made a member of the Berlin Academy of Arts in 1989 and received the Russian State Prize from President Boris Yeltsin in 1992), Shchedrin is himself a virtuoso pianist and organist, taking the piano part in person for the premieres of the first three of his six piano concertos. At a remarkable concert on 5 May 1974 Shchedrin performed the feat of appearing as soloist in all three of his then-completed piano concertos, one after the other. The concert, with the USSR Symphony Orchestra under Evgeny Svetlanov was recorded and released on LP, then CD. Following the collapse of the Soviet regime, Shchedrin has taken advantage of the new opportunities for international travel and musical collaboration, and now largely divides his time between Munich and Moscow.
What to Expect
Let Us Help You Plan Your Opera Visit
Whether this is your first visit to Wichita Grand Opera or you’re a regular patron, we have all the information you need to plan your evening.
Before the Opera
Where to Stay
If you are visiting Wichita from out of town, we suggest staying at one of these recommended hotels.
Clarion Inn Wichita Airport
- 5500 W Kellogg Dr,
Wichita, KS 67209 get directions
Where to Eat
Downtown Wichita and the nearby Delano District provide many dining options to enhance your opera experience. Concessions are also available at the opera.
Except as noted, Wichita Grand Opera performs in the Century II Performing Arts Center in downtown Wichita.
Century II Performing Arts Center
225 W. Douglas Ave. Wichita, KS 67202
Seating (Including for Disabled Patrons)
To comply with ADA requirements, the following seats are reserved for our handicapped patrons:
On House Right, Seating is available at:
- Row M, Seats 123 & 124 (Best seating – $85 per seat)
- Row S, Seats 124 & 125 (Better seating – $58 per seat)
- Row KK, Seats 101-106 (Better seating $58 per seat) – Promenade Box
- Row LL, Seats 107-112 (Good seating, $37 per seat) – Promenade Box
On House Left, Seating is available at:
- Row M, Seats 22 & 23 (Best Seating – $85 per seat)
- Row S, Seats 24 & 25 (Better seating – $58 per seat)
- Row KK, Seats 1-6 (Better seating – $58 per seat) – Promenade Box
- Row LL, Seats 7-12 (Good seating, $37 per seat) – Promenade Box
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Will I be able to understand what is being sung?
A: All Wichita Grand Opera productions incorporate English translations projected above the stage.
- Q: What if I arrive late?
A: Latecomers and those who exit the theater during the performance will not be admitted until the next appropriate applause break.
- Q: Does Wichita Grand Opera offer refunds?
A: Only season ticket subscribers are permitted to exchange or upgrade their tickets.
- Q: What if I lose my ticket?
A: Contact the Box Office at (316) 262-8054. Replacements will be waiting for you at the Century II Box Office.
- Q: If I don’t want my tickets mailed out, what are my options?
A: Tickets can be sent to you via mail or can be picked up at the Century II Box Office. On performance evenings, your tickets may be picked up at the will-call window before the performance.