The Golden Cockerel is an exotic, dazzling opera-ballet in three acts, with a short prologue and even shorter epilogue, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Its libretto, by Vladimir Belsky, derives from Alexander Pushkin’s 1834 poem The Tale of the Golden Cockerel, which in turn is based on two chapters of Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. The opera was completed in 1907 and premiered by Sergei Diaghilev in 1909 in Moscow, after the composer’s death. The ballet scenes were staged by Mikhail Fokine while the set designs were created by the gifted avant-gardists Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova.
This production of The Golden Cockerel is a collaboration between Andris Liepa and Georgiy Isaakyan, the Artistic Director of Natalia Sats Musical Theatre for Children. The complicated job of reconstructing the production’s scenery and costumes was heroically executed by Vyachslav Okunev. The opera-ballet’s new choreography is in the Russian ‘buffonade’ style by Gali Abaidulov.
Andris Liepa, the multi-award winning former Bolshoi Ballet star turned ballet entrepreneur, director and producer returns to the London Coliseum in July with his own collective, Les Saisons Russes du XX1e Siècle, from July 8th to 19th. Liepa’s devised a delightful programme for London audiences that will include the UK premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or or The Golden Cockerel based on Pushkin’s fairy tale, co-directed and staged by Liepa and Gregoriy Isaakyan, Artistic Director of the Moscow State Opera, and choreographed by Gali Abaidulov. By staging a re-imagining of this highly entertaining opera-ballet, (there’s little record of the original choreography by Mikhail Fokine) Andris Liepa is continuing his quest to bring the repertoire of the Ballets Russes back to today’s stage.
July’s programme at London’s Coliseum will be performed by the orchestra, chorus, ballet and soloists from the Natalia Sats Moscow State Opera and Ballet Theatre conducted by Alevtina Ioffe.
Andris Liepa said: “It’s been a very long standing dream of mine to reconstruct The Golden Cockerel. It was Mikhail Fokine’s last work which he made for Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons and it stunned his contemporaries not only with its unusual combination of the opera and ballet genres, but also with an absolutely amazing set design by Natalia Goncharova. It is such a miracle to see how her fairy sketches come alive onstage! When I was a child I often viewed those sketches in my father’s Maris Liepa, archive and dreamt of getting into this magical world. The Golden Cockerel is one of the works in which my childhood dreams are coming true. My father gave us, his children, a real fairy tale and we are looking forward to sharing it with the Coliseum audience.”
Says Georgiy Isaakyan: “During the last few years the unique repertoire of the Moscow State Opera and Ballet Theatre for Young Audiences, named after its founder Natalia Sats, is being continuously enriched by reconstructed performances of Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Seasons staged by my good friend Andris Liepa. In 2011 we presented Petrushka and The Firebird and this year our new project, The Golden Cockerel, unites both the Opera and Ballet Theatre’s efforts. It’s a wonderful fairy tale full of miracles and magic. We have tried to make the story interesting not just for children but also for adults and we hope our young audience will be inspired by the beautiful music and magic plot of the story in which a lot of different deep meanings are hidden.”
Listings information for Les Saisons Russes
The Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES
Prog. 1: THE GOLDEN COCKEREL or LE COQ D’OR
July 8th, 9th, 10th at 7.30pm
Prog. 2: PETRUSHKA, CHOPINIANA, POLOVTSIAN DANCES
July 11th AT 7.30pm; July 12th at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Prog. 3: CHOPINIANA, DIAGHILEV GALA
July 13th at 3pm only
Prog. 4: SWAN LAKE
July 15th to 19th at 7.30pm; Matinees: July 17th and 19th at 2.30pm
Friday 14th March 2014