Composer Vladimir Rannev works in the genre of the opera for the fourth time, but it's the first time that he has directed it as well. The production of the “Prose”, staged by him at Electrotheatre based on prose by Mamleev and Chekhov, offers the audience a quite unusual display mode, and stage designer Marina Alekseeva turns this mode into a visual masterpiece.
Rannev took Mamleev's story “The Groom” (1993) and put it together with “The Steppe” by Chekhov, which formally makes the basis for the libretto of the opera. However, to say this is to undermine your spectator’s experience, when you hear one thing and read another. And, as it often happens, words sung aloud are more difficult to perceive than words read. On the screen we see a complicated animated version of Mamleev’s story about a young man accidentally hitting a girl on the road and unexpectedly gaining the status of a house god for her parents, the one who can establish a connection with their daughter in her afterlife, as he was the one to touch her last when she was still alive.
But who has actually hit Mamleev’s little girl on the road – his character or Chekhov’s Egorushka, who leaves his home for good and contemplates the Steppe? Suggesting this dubiousness, Rannev raises binary questions linked to perceiving prose and opera, art and life, the past and the present, the symbolic and the real.
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Opera by Vladimir Rannev based on prose by Yury Mamleev and Anton Chekhov
Director and composer: Vladimir Rannev