Articles by Raymond Stults



Moscow's Steamship Bolshoi Keeps Rolling

In the summer of 2013, a British film production team was given unprecedented access to the Bolshoi Theater to make a documentary about the theater's inner workings.

A Truly Sensational Salome at Novaya Opera

Never in my 25 years of attending opera in Moscow has the term "sensational" come to mind in describing a new production by a local opera theater.

Moscow Opera Season Preview: A Great Year

The 2015-16 season of opera in Moscow enjoyed a rousing start last month when Novaya Opera Theater brought to its stage a new version of Richard Strauss' "Salome" that came as close to getting everything right Ч singing, conducting, orchestral playing and staging Ч as any local production of opera in post-Soviet times.

Bizet's 'Carmen' Sputters at the Bolshoi

Since its first staging at the Bolshoi Theater in 1898, Georges Bizet's opera "Carmen" has been performed by the Bolshoi company nearly 1,200 times in 11 different productions, including a new one that made its debut on the theater's main stage in July.

A Grand Festival That Lives Up to Its Name

For the seventh year in a row, the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) is due to inaugurate the Moscow classical music concert season with its Grand Festival.

A Surprise-Filled 15th Tchaikovsky Competition

This year's 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition came to an end on Thursday and Friday evenings with successive gala concerts in its two host cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Benois de la Danse Gives a Fascinating Glimpse

Benois de la Danse is one of the most important annual events in the world of ballet. Since its founding in 1992 by then-Bolshoi Theater ballet artistic director Yury Grigorovich, it has honored a host of great dancers and choreographers with its awards and presented an often fascinating glimpse of what is to be found on dance stages throughout the world.

Gerzmava Shines in 'Medea' Opera at Stanislavsky

When the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater announced last September that it had picked Luigi Cherubini's "Medea" as one of its new opera productions for the current season, my reaction was that it had bitten off more than it could chew, taking on a work for which it couldn't possibly assemble an adequate cast.

Trans-Siberian Arts Festival Shines in Novosibirsk

Very few travelers, whether foreign or domestic, are likely to go out of their way to visit Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city, located some 3,057 kilometers to the east of Moscow in the heart of western Siberia.

Musicality Redeems 'Queen of Spades' Opera at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater

Apart from its staging of "The Story of Kai and Gerda," an opera aimed primarily at young audiences, the Bolshoi Theater's array of new operatic productions this season is made up entirely of reliable old warhorses.

Bolshoi's 'Hamlet' Doesn't Repeat 'Romeo' Success

Just over 11 years ago, the team of Moldovan choreographer Radu Poklitaru and British drama director Declan Donnellan caused something of a sensation at the Bolshoi Theater, shaking up the theater's classically oriented dance troupe and repertoire with an impassioned contemporary reworking of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet."

Stanislavsky's 'Khovanshchina' Is Compelling Piece

When a film version of Modest Mussorgsky's opera "Khovanshchina" appeared in 1959 and posters advertising it were displayed throughout Moscow, a little girl was overheard asking her mother, "What does 'Khovanshchina' mean?" "Can't you can see for yourself, stupid?" the mother replied. "It's the name of a movie."

Vishneva Shines in New Neumeier Ballet 'Tatiana'

Alexander Pushkin's verse-novel "Eugene Onegin," American-born choreographer John Neumeier and Mariinsky Theater prima ballerina Diana Vishneva have all featured prominently on Moscow ballet stages over the past two seasons.

Casting Disappoints In 'Legend of Love'

Prior to the Bolshoi Theater's revival two weeks ago of Yury Grigorovich's "A Legend of Love," I had long considered it the best of the 15 Grigorovich ballets I know at first hand and the one likely to have the best chance of standing the test of time. But I'm no longer certain my judgment was correct.

Pokrovsky Theater Stages Beethoven's Only Opera

"Of all my offspring, this composition caused me the greatest birth pains and later the greatest grief, and therefore I value it more dearly than any of the others," Ludwig van Beethoven wrote late in life about his one and only opera, "Fidelio."

Yekaterinburg Opens With Stunning Glass Opera

The Yekaterinburg Theater of Opera and Ballet took a bold step in opening its 103rd season last month with a production of contemporary American composer Philip Glass's opera "Satyagraha."

Pletnev to Play, Conduct RNO at Grand Festival

The Grand Festival, which was founded by pianist Mikhail Pletnev, starts Saturday and runs till Sept. 28.

Bolshoi Ballet Does Shakespeare's 'Taming of Shrew'

The Bolshoi Theater closed its 2013-2014 season of ballet earlier this month with a brand-new work based on William Shakespeare's comedy "The Taming of the Shrew," in a staging by Jean-Christophe Maillot, director of Monaco's Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and one of the world's most sought-after choreographers.

Conductor Tugan Sokhiev to Debut in New Bolshoi Season

The Bolshoi Theater recently announced its plans for the coming season, which opens on September 14 with a performance of Modest Mussorgsky's opera "Boris Godunov."

Stanislavsky's 'Aida' Leaves Much to Be Desired

The Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater has this season courageously taken on two of the most formidable beasts in the operatic stable, Richard Wagner's "Tannhäuser," which premiered last September, and Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida," which made its debut in mid-April.

'Tsar's Bride' Makes Triumphant Return to Bolshoi

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Tsar's Bride," arguably the composer's most popular opera, has returned to the Bolshoi Theater's Main Stage after nearly a decade's absence, in a production that combines elements both old and new.

A Profound 'Prince Igor' From Met Opera

Week before last, New York's Metropolitan Opera presented a new production of Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor," directed by Dmitry Chernyakov, well-known to Moscow audiences for his five stagings at the Bolshoi Theater — most recently, of Mikhail Glinka's "Ruslan and Lyudmila," which served to re-open the theater's Main Stage in late 2011 — and at least four others brought to Moscow from St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk.

Tugan Sokhiev to Be New Bolshoi Music Director

In the space of just seven weeks since the abrupt resignation of Vasily Sinaisky as Bolshoi Theater music director and chief conductor, the theater has managed to come up with a replacement of uncommon distinction and promise.

Substitutes Hold Together Bolshoi's 'Don Carlo'

The Bolshoi Theater's new production of Verdi's "Don Carlo" was a success, though future performances will need better conducting.

Bolshoi Prepares for 'Don Carlo,' Minus a Conductor

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, the Bolshoi Theater might have taken a relatively painless route by opting for a new production of one of the composer's well-known works, such as "Rigoletto," "Il trovatore" or "Aida," that have long been absent from its stage.

World-Class Vienna Philharmonic Hits Moscow

In the remarkably short span of 15 days, ending last Sunday, Moscow was visited by two of what are likely the best symphony orchestras in the world.

Stanislavsky Returns to Original in Restaging of 'La Bayadere'

There are few greater challenges in the classical ballet repertoire than "La Bayadere," one of the supreme creations of Frenchman Marius Petipa during his half-century as ballet master of what is now known as the ballet company of St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater.

Pianist Denis Matsuev Brings Energy and Enthusiasm to Concerts

Early last month, 11 prominent soloists of the Bolshoi Theater's ballet company, including four prima ballerinas, interrupted their brief vacation from the Bolshoi's stages to travel 5,000 kilometers eastward to Irkutsk for a pair of gala dance programs closing out the city's eighth annual "Stars on Baikal" music festival.

Wagner Premieres at Stanislavsky Theater

Celebrating this year's 200th anniversary of the birth of German composer Richard Wagner, opera houses throughout the world are marking the occasion by mounting new productions and reviving older ones of his operatic legacy.

Tchaikovsky Opens Bolshoi's New Season

The Bolshoi Theater opened its 238th season Tuesday with a performance at its New Stage of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's opera "The Queen of Spades." Ahead of it, between now and next July, lie three entirely new stagings of ballet and two of opera, as well as the revival of two productions of opera from the past.