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Orange revolution

Published: March 9, 2007 (Issue # 1252)



  • Alain Maratrat (l) directs performers at a rehearsal of his production of The Love For Three Oranges at the Mariinsky Theater this week.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

Alain Maratrat aims to awaken opera fans joi de vivre in his production of Sergei Prokofievs The Love For Three Oranges which premieres on Wednesday at the Mariinsky Theater.

Inspired by Carlo Gozzis commedia dellarte scenario, the surrealistic and enchanting work is Prokofievs most widely performed opera. The Gozzi tale was admired by the composer for its bright theatricality and a whimsical fusion of magic and parody.

When I left Moscow, I took a volume of plays with me for the journey; in it was printed Carlo Gozzis The Love For Three Oranges, Prokofiev wrote in his diary. It held me spellbound with its mix of fairy tales, humor and satire it was during that long journey that I began something resembling a sketch for the opera.

The Love For Three Oranges tells the story of a hypochondriac prince who falls in love with a princess from a distance. The prince is looking for a place for himself and is rewarded by the love of the princess. The opera is packed with miracles, parodies and mystifications.

The opera first saw the stage in Chicago on Dec. 30, 1921, and immediately became a favorite on the international opera scene. It enjoyed its first staging at the Mariinsky five years later. Prokofiev welcomed the Russian premiere staged by director Sergei Radlov by saying that the show was by far the most successful production of the opera he had seen. Mariinskys second take on the opera, directed by Alexander Petrov, followed in 1991.

This work is like a bustling musical show, with a lot of drive and passion, Maratrat, the French director of the latest version, said, exuding enthusiasm and promising a dynamic production with snappy changes of set. And this is a fantastic story.

Maratrat is hoping to inspire and encourage a more cheerful and more curious attitude in the audiences. The hypochondriac prince has become a common type these days, the director feels.

There are so many young people who do exactly the same shutting themselves off from the real world, hiding from reality on the internet, and being afraid of life itself, Maratrat said. They need a way out of that trap, and the story of the poor prince shows one such way. We need to make it believable.

I do feel I need to whet peoples appetite for life, Maratrat told The St. Petersburg Times in an interview between rehearsals on Tuesday. Look around, and you see that even young people have a meagre appetite for life; dull, uninspired faces abound the streets, regardless of where you go. People just do not smile anymore.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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