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The Moscow Music
and Drama Theatre







A. S. Pushkin

"Four Stories"

Dramatic suite in 2 acts based on "Little Tragedies" and poems by A.S.Pushkin. With a symphonic quintet chorus on stage.

The show opens with "A Feast in Time of Plague": you hear Scottish bagpipes, you see a fancy-dress party in full swing, and you are transported to a feast presided over by Black Death Himself. And it is set to music: the dialogue between Devil and Faust, Mozart and Salieri, etc.

You will hear an excellent rendition by a string quintet and chorus of Mozart's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, Shnitke's Concerto Grosso, and Shostakovich's Quartet No 8.

The second act, entitled "Don Juan", is literally punctuated with Seville songs. The show runs for over two hours, but you won't notice it, the production

having been crafted with such a light touch and the action being so full of grace...

High tragedy is a genre which is nowadays almost non-existent in the theatre. It requires a substantial span of time, to give the dramatic actor a chance to take the audience step by step deeper in what happens on the stage, to bring out in them not only the feeling of sympathy and maudlin sentimentality (this is a prerogative of soap operas), but make them experience a revelation, undergo purification, in a word - catharsis, without which theatre is no more than just another entertainment.

However, Pushkin, the wilful genius that he is, does not grant such a carte blanche to dramatic theatre. His tragedies are miniatures. Dramatic theatre finds itself without its main tool - a psychological insight. We have attempted to bypass the problem by papering over the dramatic hiatuses of the "Little Tragedies" with classical music performed by a symphonic orchestra and chorus to reproduce the implied but undescribed aftermath of the tragedy. This being the case, the chorists become the drama protagonists in their own right.

The show's mise-en-scene comprises three "little tragedies", i.e., "Mozart and Salieri", "A Feast in Time of Plague" and "Stone Guest", as well as the poems "Sometimes, bedazzled, …", "Cyclops", "Demon", "A Scene from Faust" and "Evil Spirits". "Evil Spirits" is the keynote for the suite. The production is thought of as an exploration of the mechanics of evil spirits taking possession of a human being.

The music*, acting as the prime mover of the dramatic action, is performed not only by a symphonic orchestra and a chorus, but also using genuine Scottish bagpipes.

Running time 2 hours 00 minutes

Director: Andrei Rossinsky, Stas Namin
Scenography and costumes: Andrei Volodenkov
Musical director, chorus master: Laslo Dolinsky

Ballet-master-producer: Anastasia Davydova
Musical Soundscape: Alesya Mankovskaya, Leonid Butinsky
Group of 5 musicians: cello, violin and double bass


*The show incorporates music by V.A.Mozart, D. Shostakovich, S.Prokofiev, K.Orff, A.Shnitke. National Spanish and Scottish tunes arranged by P. Botalin and A. Mankovskaya