24 Sept-3 Oct 2004. Conducted by James Conlon, directed by Andrei Serban, with Vladimir Ognovenko, Clifton Forbis, Robert Brubaker and Elena Zaremba.
The Autumn Season
The summer has just come to a close. The open-air operatic festivals are over, but opera continues in indoor theatres. The Comunale of Florence begins its autumn season with Modeste Mussorgsky's Kovancina (24 Sept- 3 Oct). It is an uncomplete work, for Musorgskij was still working on it when he died in 1881. It was performed for the first time five years after his death, in a private and amateur capacity, with the orchestration completed by Rimsky-Korsakov. The latter wasn't the only one to get his hands on the score. After him, there was Ravel, Stravinsky and Shostakovich. All, in one way or another, betrayed the original intentions of the composer, though Shostakovich seems to be the only one to have respected the original vision of the work as far as possible. It is in this latter version that "Kovancina" will be performed in Florence, entrusted to James Conlon as conductor and Andrei Serban as director. This is not the first time that these two have worked together. They produced Verdi's "Othello" in Paris, provoking contrasting reactions. Many applauded Conlon but there was some disagreement over the set production for it was deemed too unconventional. Paolo Di Nicola.
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Kovancina by Mussorgsky.
Teatro Comunale, tel. 199109910. For more information, www.maggiofiorentino.com. For ticket office, tel. 055213535.