News and events
22 May
"The Devil, the Soldier and the Violin" in Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
Vivid experimental productions have already become the tradition for the Open Arts Festival "Chereshnevy Les". Therefore, the musical play "The Devil, the Soldier and the Violin" - a new interpretation of the "Soldier’s Story" by Igor Stravinsky - has become one of the most anticipated events of the theatrical season. The first night of the performance took place in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow on May 19th.
Ivan Urgant, Pavel Astakhov, Ksenia Alferova and Yegor Beroyev, Mikhail Kozhevnikov, Mikhail Barshchevsky, Natalya Barshchevskaya, Alexei Kortnev, Leonid Yarmolnik, Kamil Larin, Lyudmila Zorina, Vadim Abdrashitov, Sergei Filin, Maria Alexandrova, Jan Yanovsky, Alexei Yashin, Irina Volskaya, Anatoly Malkin, Nadezhda Solovyova and others were among the guests of the event.
The leading parts were performed by "non-actors" - journalist and TV presenter Vladimir Pozner (Storyteller), rock musician, poet and artist Andrei Makarevich (Soldier), violinist, conductor and author of the project’s idea Dmitry Sitkovetsky (Devil), which became the main intrigue of the play.
There was a scene with a minimum of scenery: a place for a small orchestra, a white backdrop and a long table in the center, at which there were the two protagonists, the Soldier and the Storyteller. The creators defined the genre of the production as a multimedia performance. "The leading roles are performed not by actors, so this is a special performance, a special musical drama," - explained the producer and choreographer Mikhail Kislyarov.
The eternal plot about selling the soul to the devil features music, the art of rhetoric and the contemporary ballet of course. Choreography was entrusted to Anna Deltzova and Alexander Tronov: their fascinating movements, snatched out of the darkness by the beam of light, were appreciated by many viewers. Animated by Yan Kalnberzin, the drawing made by Andrei Makarevich especially for the production, were combined with television effects: several cameras allowed to recreate the studio of "Pozner" TV-show on the stage.
"The fact that this work, as far as I know, is put for the first time in Russia, is the merit of Dmitry Sitkovetsky, a violinist and conductor, who worked with Stravinsky's music. We are not actors, and it is just a fun for Makarevich and me. It also cannot be called actor's work. It's not even a role, but a function," - Vladimir Pozner says.
According to the Tempter, the author of the idea and the performer of the part of the Devil Dmitry Sitkovetsky, the idea was born many years ago. "I have performed this work in different versions since my studies in London. But the text was outdated hopelessly, so I ordered a new one."
The author of the new text is Mikhail Uspensky, who took up the invitation to take part in the project with enthusiasm. The new performance was added with details, which gave a topical sounding to the story. The magic book, for which the poor soldier sells his soul to the devil, becomes a "tablet". His bride escapes "to the Arab Emirates”. The protagonist earns money thanks to the financial transactions and keeps it in the "offshore zones".
The new version of "The Devil, the Soldier and the Violin" features the fragments not only from the "Soldier’s Story", but also from other Stravinsky’s works including the opera "Mavra", the ballet "The Fairy's Kiss" and others," - Sitkovetsky says. And even the song of Andrei Makarevich, who accompanies himself on the guitar. "I'm not a professional dramatic artist, so the concept of creating an image is very far from me. I just try to be in tune with the mood and the music," - Makarevich shared.
Stravinsky created the parable of the sale of the soul based on Russian tales from the collection of Alexander Afanasyev and the legend of Faust being in exile in 1917, because he was in dire need of money. His friend, the playwright Charles Ramou, wrote a French text. Thus, one of the most original and least known works of the composer in Russia was born. We know him as the author of "Firebird", "Petrushka" and "Sacred Spring". Jean Cocteau, Jean Mare, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian McKellen, Peter Ustinov and even Sting took part in the presentation of this "readable, played and danced" parable at different times. Kurt Vonnegut made an English translation of one of the versions.
The creators were worried before the first-night. "If something is wrong, then we will consider – it is the devil’s work," - Dmitry Sitkovetsky joked. But everything was perfect and the audience rose in applause and did not want to let the protagonists off stage for a long time. Another classic work of Stravinsky has acquired a new meaning and sounding. This time within the Open Arts festival Chereshnevy Les. 
XVII Open Arts Festival Chereshnevy Les has prepared many other interesting events this year. The full program can be seen here.
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