La Belle Russe

August 13, 2017


Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky  were composers I fell in love with as a teenager. All that tumultuous emotion, rich, ever changing harmonies and deep flowing melodies. Ahh I thought, if only I could wander around St Petersburg and absorb what it means to be Russian. The Nationalism, the battle of the soul, the connection with the land and folklore.



Well, last week I learnt a different side of that culture when I stage managed the opera Khohvanchina for the BBC Proms. Composed by Mussorgsky, who died before he completed it, Shostakovich and Stravinsky took on the task of making it stage worthy.




Oh what a story!!! It’s almost to grotesque to write about. Please skip the next paragraph if horror isn’t your thing.



It all kicks off with soldiers talking about killing the child heir to the throne in graphic details, a rape scene quickly follows and then four hours of political intrigue in which there is no good or evil and no silver lining begins. At the end there is a death scene where the lovers are burnt alive.

Following the score in rehearsals was almost painful because of the intensity of the story marring against the cheerfulness of the tunes. I am certainly going to look at Swan Lake in a new light.



So, art isn’t always beautiful sometimes it is ugly. And sometimes it turns out it can be both.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

Bella Tromba to perform at Covent Garden

March 2, 2019

Please reload

Recent Posts

September 3, 2018

February 9, 2018

November 22, 2017

November 12, 2017

Please reload

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
  • LinkedIn Clean Grey

© Jo Harris All Rights Reserved 2015

+44 (0) 1306 500 022