I just learned that Rasputin, an opera by my U Penn colleague Jay Reise, will receive its French premiere this December 4 and 5. According to the press release, the piece wil be done at the Opéra de Massy, just outside Paris. The production will be that of the Helikon Opera which staged the work in Moscow in 2008-2009. It’s a striking production, involving giant Fabergé eggs as part of the set – see image at left. The director will be Dmitry Bertman and Konstantine Chudovsky will conduct. Nikolai Galin will sing the title role.
The piece was commissioned by Beverly Sills for the New York City Opera a number of years ago. I attended the original production and remember it as a powerful piece. This is the third time the work is being done, which is two more times than a lot of operas, and speaks well for the piece’s viability.
I’m not sure if the following story if true or not, but my understanding is that Jay chose the topic partly at the suggestion of George Crumb, who pointed out that since lots of opera singers keep singing after they appear to have been killed, Rasputin, who, according to legend survived multiple attempts on his life, would be the perfect character for an opera.