From Prince Igor to Black Square
The stories of human lives swept away by the storm of political changes seven centuries apart come alive in this unusual production. From Prince Igor to Black Square pushes the boundaries between classics and avant-garde, juxtaposing classic scenes from the audience’ beloved classic Russian operas with the premiere of the first act of the new opera Black Square.
The futuristic plot of the Black Square tells a tragicomic love story of a couple overwhelmed by revolution and caught up in societal metamorphosis. Inspired by the 1913 opera Victory over the Sun and Lenin's era science-fiction writings, the opera explores reverberations of old prophecies, and universal themes of personal freedom and the price of conformity. It is powered by an early 20th century absurd theatre tradition, the aim of which is to deliver complex poetic language through a simple comic book style story. Music is written by the brilliant contemporary Russian composer, Ilya Demutsky, whose name is attached to productions for the famous Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. At only 34, Ilya is already a winner of the Golden Mask, the highest honor in the Russian theatre, which he received for the ballet Hero of Our Times at Bolshoi, and a recipient of the Composer of the Year award (European Oscar) for the Cannes award-winning film The Student. Ilya will be coming to Urbana right after the opening night of his ballet Nureyev at Bolshoi Theater in Moscow amidst the controversy of its cancellation in July, just two days before the opening, and the arrest of its director, Kirill Serebrennikov, well known for his critique of Putin’s regime.
The libretto is written by Igor Konyukhov, an artistic director of New Opera NYC, and Olga Maslova, an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, U of I.
This performance is supported by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and Russian, East European and Eurasian Center
A panel discussion will follow the performance.