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16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 October 2008
Leós Janácek
From the house of the Dead
Opera in three acts based on the short novel by F. Dostoevskij

Conductor Gabriele Ferro
Director David Pountney
Set and Costume Designs Maria Björnson
Lighting Chris Ellis
Assistant Director Caroline Clegg
Teatro Massimo Orchestra and ChorusPražský filharmonichý sbor

Production by the Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera
Alexandr Petrovič Gorjančikov Kay Stiefermann
Alieja Erik Stoklossa
Filka Morozov / Luka Kusmič Stefan Margita
Il grande prigioniero Adrian Thompson
Il piccolo prigioniero Vladimir Chmelo
Il comandante Richard Angas
Il vecchissimo prigioniero Ernst Dieter Suttheimer
Skuratov Peter Straka
Čekunov / Il pope Manrico Signorini
Il prigioniero ubriaco Nicola Pamio
Il cuoco Armando Caforio
Il fabbro Carlo Di Cristoforo
Il giovane prigioniero Alberto Profeta
Una prostituta Elena Borin
Un prigioniero travestito da Don Giovanni David Stout
Kedril / Una voce Hubert Francis
Šapkin Alan Oke
Šiskov Pavlo Hunka
Čerevin Roberto Gionfriddo
Una guardia Nicolò Ceriani
Thursday 16 October 2008 Turno Prime at 8.30 pm
Friday 17 October 2008 Turn B at 6.30 pm
Saturday 18 October 2008 Turn F at 8.30 pm
Sunday 19 October 2008 Turn D at 5.30 pm
Tuesday 21 October 2008 Turn S1 at 6.30 pm
Wednesday 22 October 2008 Turn C at 6.30 pm

Running time
One hour and 40 minutes, no interval

A Siberian Prison camp. Morning. Winter. The prisoners are woken. They gossip about the new prisoner, a nobleman, who is to arrive that morning. The Large prisoner quarrels with the Small; Luka Kuzmich separates them. The new prisoner, Goryanchikov, arrives and is interrogated by the Governor, who orders him to be flogged. The prisoners bait a wounded eagle; the Governor encourages his soldiers to beat Goryanchikov. Some of the prisoners leave to work in the fields; others remain, making shoes. Skuratov recalls his past in Moscow, but his wild singing and dancing infuriates Luka Kuzmich and the other prisoners. When he finally collapses and is silent, Luka relates his previous experiences in prison. In particular he tells how he incited his fellow prisoners against a particularly vicious officer, and killed the officer when he came to investigate the disturbance. As he concludes by relating the flogging he received, Goryanchickov is dragged in, half dead from his beating.

Late afternoon. Spring. Goryanchikov asks the Tartar boy Layeya about his family and offers to teach him to read and write. It is Easter Day, and when the day’s work is over, local citizens appear with gifts for the prisoners; the priest blesses them. Skuratov tells the story of Luisa – A German girl he wanted to marry. When instead she married a wealthy watchmaker, he went to the wedding and shot the bridegroom. On an improvised stage, the prisoners p3erform two plays: a version of the Don Giovanni story – and “The Lovely Miller’s Wife”. After the plays, a prisoner goes off with a prostitute. While Alyeya and Goryanchikov are drinking tea, the Small Prisoner, infuriated by Goryanchikov’s privileged status, attacks and wounds Alyeya.

Night. The Hospital. Alyeya cries out in his fever. Luka, who is dying, pours contempt on Chekunov for his servile behaviour towards Goryanchkov. Shapkin describes how a magistrate almost pulled his ears off. Shishkov, egged on by Cherevin, tells the story of Akulka (Akulina): Filka Morozov, his rival, claimed that he had slept with her, and publicly dishonoured her. Shishkov was persuaded to marry her, and at first believed her innocent. Later Filka persuaded him he was mistaken. When Shishkov discovered that she still loved Filka, he killed her. Luka dies as the story ends, and Shishkov recognises him as Filka. A Guard summons Goryanchikov. Morning. The Prison. The Governor, drunk, apologises to Goryanchikov, and announces his release. Alyeya says farewell to Goryanchikov. The prisoners release the eagle, whose wing is now healed. The Guards order them back to work.


(Click on any photograph you wish to see enlarged)

Foto Franco Lannino ©Studio Camera