Moisey Weinberg. The Passenger. Russian Stage Premiere
Ekaterinburg – Warsaw – Moscow
Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre announces the Russian stage premiere of the opera The Passenger by Mieczyslaw (Moisey) Weinberg. The event is unique because for the first time a production of Weinberg’s opera turns into a large-scale international musical, theatrical, research, cultural and humanistic project, consisting of three stages:
• Pre-events (2015 – September 2016)
• Premiere at the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre (15, 16, 17, 18 September 2016)
• Premiere of The Passenger in Moscow and the International conference “Weinberg. A Re-Discovery” (February 2017)
In 2015 the leadership of the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre took a decision on the production of Moisey Weinberg’s opera The Passenger which has never been staged at Russian opera houses since its creation in 1968.
The project supervisors: Andrei Shishkin, Director of the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre, and Andrei Ustinov, Editor-in-Chief of Muzykalnoye obozrenie national newspaper.
Conductor Oliver von Dohnányi (Slovakia), Stage Director & Designer Thaddeus Strassberger (USA) and designer Vita Tzykun (USA) have been invited as creative team.
In July 2015, Andrei Shishkin and Andrei Ustinov went on a working visit to Poland. At the meeting in Warsaw an agreement on cooperation between the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Director Paweł Potoroczyn) and the Ekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre was signed. Musicologist and journalist Aleksander Laskowski, Head of the Expert Group of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, was invited as a project consultant.
Polish writer Zofia Posmysz, whose novel about her imprisonment in Auschwitz, The Passenger from Cabin Number 45, was adapted into a libretto of Weinberg’s opera, approved the idea of the production. The supervisors met the writer in the course of their working visit. A video interview and a welcome speech of Zofia Posmysz to the audience in Ekaterinburg were recorded.
In autumn 2015, Thaddeus Strassberger, opera director, set & lighting designer, went to Poland where he visited Auschwitz (the place of action in the story and the opera), and also met with Zofia Posmysz in Warsaw. According to Strassberger, it was the impressions of the trip that played a crucial role in shaping artistic and visual concept of the future production.
Today the production of The Passenger has turned into a large-scale international project unprecedented for Russia and covering a long period of time. In the context of this project the music of Moisey Weinberg is conceived as a cultural symbol going beyond the career of a particular artist, as a sign of high humanity and an appeal to the public beyond time and national boundaries.
The project contributes to the development of relations between Russia and Poland, strengthens international contacts, introduces the audience in Ekaterinburg and Moscow to Weinberg’s music and builds his personality and music into contemporary Russian culture and the epicenter of public attention.