Composer search

Search by surname

Detailed search

Repertoire search

Catalogue search

Amsterdam Production of Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” a Sensation!

Performances and new productions of the works of Dmitri Shostakovich are particularly frequent this season due to his 100th birthday on 25 September 2006. Remarkable events include the premiere of the orchestral work “The Garden of Dreams,” Op. 110 by Elena Firsova, dedicated to Shostakovich, by the Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam on 23 June 2006 in Amsterdam as well as the premiere of the opera “The Nose” at the Essen Theatre (4 June 2006) and the enthusiastically received new production of the opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” at Het Muziektheater Amsterdam (3 June 2006). 

The journal DIE ZEIT has written (14.June 2006) the following commentary concerning this great theatrical event: 

“How many fringes of human evil did Dmitri Shostakovich actually have in mind when he composed his opera ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’? The music gives us a wry-mouthed grin. The characters brawl confusedly, many-headed, through the orchestral writing, fall into each other’s arms triumphantly and wrestle against goodness whilst smacking their lips: the lust to murder strangles humanity. (…) Shostakovich presents this in glaring tone colours. He allows us to hear how rage grows in a humiliated soul, swelling up to a deadly crescendo. He allows us to hear what comfort streams through the sadist when he sees his victim suffering. (…) When one comes out of the Amsterdam premiere of ‘Lady Macbeth,’ one does not wish to stop talking about the cynical jokes in this music. This is because everything is still so omnipresent in one’s ears: how the rat poison that the murderess Katerina Ismailova has stirred into the mushrooms begins to take effect with corrosive string tremoli, how the great emptiness of feeling stares at one out of hollow chords.(…)

“Conductor Mariss Jansons really hit the nail on the head in his interpretation of Lady Macbeth. For many years this Latvian, who learned his profession in Leningrad under the strict Yevgeny Mravinsky, has been considered a Shostakovich authority. (…) Everything in his interpretation is dipped in glaring light, each character contour, each change in perspective, each parodying grimace. But Jansons does not merely display the triumph of violence, sneering from the score, with cool precision as do other conductors, but allows himself to be carried away by it. (…) There are productions in which Katerina strides away unharmed over all cadavers and importunities, an invincible symbolic figure of female self determination. But director Martin Kusej is more interested in the powers that are her undoing. He distinguishes himself as a portraitist of human baseness working in precise details. (…)” 

(Claus Spahn in DIE ZEIT, 14 June 2006)