Elena Kamburova Theatre of Music and Poetry, Moscow
Director Ivan Popovski

This production was first performed in Popovski’s homeland Macedonia. The theatre took the audience at the Ohrid summer festival by storm. The critics could barely find the words to describe what they had seen.

It is difficult to give the production a proper title; it is a concert without words, as well as a synthetic theatre and cascade of stage amusements, sometimes appealing and ironic, but mostly amazing and unbelievably beautiful. The window with trembling curtains suddenly converges into a bull’s eye behind which someone‘s hands are twirling a globe. The nymphs in white shrouds who are playing with the globe are suddenly transformed into a video projection and scatter into thousands of pixels. This play of light changes a satellite photograph of New York into a three-dimensional city. The creatures in white sail in the clouds above this city but the moment they try to descend they become entangled in a laser web. In short, Popovski’s stage innovations would suffice for a dozen large-scale performances but he puts his theatrical wonders in a tiny box on a chamber setting.

Classical music performed by an ensemble and a quartet of participating singers accompanies the installations. The musical cycles by Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Piazzola have been arranged for female vocalists. Three composers, three centuries, three styles and in essence three separate performances; Vivaldi is a baroque pastoral; Tchaikovsky a theatre on a Russian estate where amateur performances by the children of the nobility are assisted by serfs as the proscenium; Piazzola a dramatic tango of a megalopolis. Three different performances create a single message about culture from which nature has been forced out, and which is ultimately about the spirit of inspiration that 300 years ago was sought for in nature, and 150 years ago in the idea of it. Ivan Popovski identifies who today is whispering in the artist’s ear.

Elena Kovalskaya

The fantasy, taste and imagination in The Four Seasons would be sufficient for tens of routine Moscow premieres. Ivan Popovsky inventively varies the possibilities of the small boxed stage, employing literally every centimetre of space - depth, height and partition walls. The set is placed right in front of the audience. […] The production of The Four Seasons is intelligently thought out and elegantly staged and is somehow reminiscent of those magical music boxes, whose secrets we so unsuccessfully tried to unravel as children.

Olga Yegoshina,
Novye Izvestia

Macedonia’s Ivan Popovsky is a former student of Pyotr Fomenko and the director of the Moscow sensation, The Adventure by Marina Tsvetaeva and the aesthetically refined stage adaptation of Nikolai Gumilev’s play The Poisoned Tunic. With his passionate love of elegance, Popovsky always looked a bit out of place among the young and assertive directors, who expound naked truths from the stage.

He discovered an ally in singer Elena Kamburova who gave him carte blanche to her Theatre of Music and Poetry, although Ivan Popovsky’s Theatre is more a theatre of music and painting. He evidently prefers ephemeral artistic images glowing with meaning to those of words. In his productions the director always tries to minimize the verbal piece, and in his current work he totally rejects the use of words and fully relies on music, visual display and the skill of the four actresses...

... In the programme the director advises the audience not to try and decipher his plot, but to completely trust their emotions. A critic finds himself in the silly position of a person who builds castles in the air.

Marina Shimadina,

Photo © Vasil Yaroshevich, Dmitry Shatrov