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World première of the new production of Rubinstein's Demon

  • The Gran Teatre del Liceu leads this coproduction whose partners include the Helikon Opera of Moscow, the National Opera of Bordeaux and the Staatstheater Nürnberg.
  • The two stars, regulars at the great opera houses of the world, are Latvian baritone Egils Siliņš and Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian in her Liceu debut.
  • Dmitry Bertman directs this masterpiece of Russian repertoire under the baton of Maestro Mikhail Tatarnikov and featuring the spectacular scenic and costume designs of Austrian Hartmut Schörghofer.

Mikhail Tatarnikov, Dmitry Bertman, Asmik Grigorian i Egils Siliņš.

Barcelona, April 12, 2018. The Gran Teatre del Liceu hosts the world premiere of the new production of Anton Rubinstein's Demon, a grand opera from the late 19th century Russian repertoire that has never been seen at the Liceu. This complete rediscovery of a classic Slavic opera features one of the most innovative stage directors of Russian opera, Dmitry Bertman, and is conducted by Mikhail Tatarnikov, whom the public have already delighted in seeing at the Dmitri Hvorostovsky Concert in November 2016. Headlining the cast are two top tier stars and regulars at the world's most important theatres: Latvian baritone Egils Siliņš as The Demon and Lithuanian soprano Asmik Grigorian, who triumphed at last summer's Salzburg Festival, making her debut at the Liceu in the role of Tamara. Rounding out the cast are countertenor Yuriy Mynenko in the role of the Angel, baritone Igor Morosow as Prince Sinodal and bass Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Prince Gudal, all three Ukrainian and making their Liceu debuts. The opening night of Demon will be dedicated to the memory of Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away last November and who was involved in the creation of this production in which he was to have starred.

Egils Siliņš i Asmik Grigorian (© A. Bofill)

The Gran Teatre del Liceu leads this coproduction which includes the Helikon Opera of Moscow, the National Opera of Bordeaux and the Staatstheater Nürnberg. The project, born in Barcelona, showcases a spectacular scenic design by Hartmut Schörghofer who places "a large tunnel [onstage] connecting different worlds and representing the tragedy of love", explains Dmitry Bertman. At the bottom of this cylinder is a large inflatable sphere with a projector inside that will create multiple realities, change looks and give clues to the different actions in the story, becoming a sphere of fire, a watchful eye, or a sandstorm, to name a few.

The Demon and Tamara star in a "story of love and passion" in which the main character, despite being supernatural, ends up having "more humanity and good qualities than all of us", says Dmitry Bertman. The director highlights memorable musical moments of Demon like "the beautiful aria of Prince Sinodal, 'Nochen'ka temnaya' ('The night is dark'), a men's chorus with oriental touches, the powerful chorus of mourning for the death of Sinodal and the impressive final duet of Act III between Tamara and the Demon, a veritable climax of the opera".

Asmik Grigorian i membres del Cor del Liceu (© A. Bofill)

Anton Rubinstein composed more than 15 operas, of which only Néro - the first Russian opera presented in Barcelona - has been seen at the Liceu (1898). The composer and pianist - a rival of Liszt - performed at the Liceu in concert on two occasions, during one of which the orchestra played the ballet from his opera, Demon. The opera is in three acts with libretto by Pavel Alexandrovich Viskovatov and is based on the homonymous poem of the "damned" Mikhail Lérmontov, labeled as sacrilegious and blasphemous by the Russian church censors. The world premiere was on January 25, 1875 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. On April 23, it premieres at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.