Right, you haven't guessed which instrument does the roar yet. It's the mighty, but rarely-spotted, contrabassoon. twitter.com/theoae/status/…
Those of you on Facebook will have seen the picture we posted yesterday showing some of the office team celebrating the approval of our Russian Visas – after quite a lengthy and complicated process! We said at the time we’d tell you more about our Russian trip so here goes…
So what are we up to in Russia? Well it’s all come about at the initiative of our Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski. We’re travelling to Saint-Petersburg on on 27 December to work with the Mikhailovsky Theatre on a production of a ‘new’ version of Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov. We say ‘new’ but while this indeed is a new presentation of the work (entitled Boris the Tzar) put together by Vladimir Jurowski, it goes back to the original text – which was rejected by the Imperial Theatres Board in 1869.
The existence of the composer’s first draft of Boris Godunov remained virtually unknown to the general public for more than fifty years. This original conception of the opera is quite different not only from his own later version and Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration, which is the most frequently performed, but also from all the later twentieth-century orchestral versions.
While over 30 members of the OAE will be flying out to Russia not all of the Orchestra for the opera will be OAE members. This is a collaboration with the Mikhailovsky, so their violins will be taking off the metal strings and will instead be getting used to gut strings, with our musicians (who will comprise the front desk of each string section) coaching them in period style. The woodwind, brass and percussion will however be entirely OAE.
Performances will be on the 3rd and 4th of January (so we will most likely enjoy a new year’s eve complete with Russian vodka), with the Orchestra returning to the UK on the 5th. This is only our second-ever trip to Russia, following performances of Messiah in Moscow a few years ago.
London (and Hungarian) audiences won’t miss out though. We’ll be performing scenes from Boris Godunov with Vladimir Jurowski and baritone Sergei Leiferkus (who will star in the Saint-Petersburg production) in London on 15 January and in Budapest on 16 January.
We will of course be blogging about the tour and posting regular pictures and updates on social media.
Boris the Tzar, 3 January, Saint-Petersburg
Boris the Tzar, 4 January, Saint-Petersburg
Flying the Flag: Images of Russia, 15 January, London
Flying the Flag: Images of Russia, 16 January, Budapest