The genre mentioned in the title is in fact not a genre but an attempt to reveal and blow up from the inside the customary and predictable form of a “biographical” play. On the other hand – it is an attempt at reflecting the paradoxical nature of Melnikov’s thinking, his “symmetry outside symmetry.

Anastasia Patlai
The idea of making a documentary production about the world-known architect Konstantin Melnikov belongs to the Melnikov Museum – a branch of the Architecture Museum named after A.V.Schusev. The production brilliantly shows how deeply the principles of documentary theatre are now rooted in contemporary culture. Museum researchers devoted over two years to exploring Konstantin Melnikov’s unique private archive and came to the conclusion that the best way to open it to the public is to use the means of documentary theatre. Numerous unknown letters, diaries, documents accounting for the architect’s life from 1907 until his death in 1974 were first deciphered by the playwright and the Museum experts while working on the play.
Melnikov is in a way a “landmark” of Soviet avant-garde. We can only guess what this brilliant architect felt when he was locked up in his House and separated from his “fairy Architecture” for over 40 years (that’s how he himself used the word “Architecture” – with a capital letter). The creators of the opera – composer Kirill Shirokov and Natalia Pschenichnikova’s “La Gol” vocal theatre team members, playwright Nana Grinshtein and director Anastasia Patlai have tried to tune in to the “music” of Melnikov’s architecture and destiny. According to composer Kirill Shirokov, the sequence of windows in the famous Melnikov’s house correlates with the fate of the architect.

Alyona Karas

Nana Grinshtein

Melnikov. Documentary opera

Shchusev Architecture Musium, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Director: Anastasia Patlai
Set designer: Yakov Kazhdan