The Tsar’s Bride at the Mariinsky

Here comes the bride
By Galina Stolyarova
Anna Netrebko stars as the passionate and poisoned Marfa in the Mariinsky Theater’s new production of “The Tsar’s Bride. The Mariinsky Theater’s famous blue curtain rises and Grigory Gryaznoi, the mighty commander of Ivan the Terrible’s feared bodyguards, the oprichniki, bemoans his unrequited love for young beauty Marfa Sobakina. Gryaznoi sits on a shabby bench in a place resembling one of the so-called Culture and Leisure parks that were a typical feature of the Soviet era.
A seashell-shaped summer theater with quiet alleys and a ferris-wheel in the background is the setting for a new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1899 opera “The Tsar’s Bride,” which premiered on Dec. 29 at the Mariinsky Theater.
Director Yury Alexandrov moves the characters into the post-war Russia of the late 1940s. Sixteenth-century Russian boyars throw their fur coats over casual mid-20th century clothes, and Ivan the Terrible’s oprichniki look more like NKVD officers. Fear and uncertainty abounds the stage.
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