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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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