The Tsar’s Bride in Moscow

Director’s Cut
A new staging of “The Tsar’s Bride” takes liberties with the opera’s music.
By Raymond Stults [The Moscow Times]
Published: January 28, 2005
Following its disastrous staging last April of Georges Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers,” I had high hopes that Novaya Opera would get itself back on track by turning to a classic of Russian opera for its next production. But, at its debut last Sunday, the theater’s new version of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Tsar’s Bride” proved, if not a disaster, at least a major disappointment, due mainly to the muddled stage direction of Yury Grymov and the theater’s decision to discard as much as a third of the opera’s music.
To its credit, Novaya Opera did, as usual, come up with singing and orchestral playing of a very high order. But the fine musical performance could scarcely compensate for the injustice done to Rimsky-Korsakov’s score and Grymov’s failure to tell the opera’s story with either clarity or coherence.
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