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Depressing for all the right reasons is Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, in Dmitry Tcherniakov’s production from the Berlin Staatsoper, which is a bold interpretation. He sets the opera in a television station, where traditional Russian scenes are staged and broadcast, while the truth behind the multimedia scenes shows the creation of a virtual tsar and the search for his bride by TV executives who manipulate state propaganda. This is played out in a series of rooms on a revolve, so the action flows uninterrupted, and we are privy to the email machinations of the Tsar on screen. Daniel Barenboim offers a smooth reading of the score, and the cast is outstanding. Johannes Martin Kränzle’s Grigory Gryaznoy seizes his opportunities, and Olga Peretyatko’s Marfa provides pathos. Good to see Anna Tomowa-Sintow as Donna Saburova, still in surprisingly juicy voice. But making the greatest impression is Anita Rachvelishvili’s stunning Lyubasha, a temperamental powerhouse whether crooning into a glass or booming an imprecation.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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