In my opinion Lady Macbeth in Mtsensk is te best opera written after Wozzeck. We have here 20th century modernism without dodecafonism, nor other "heavy" maneirisms. Between Webern and present minimalist "light" composers, we are glad to have had Prokofiev and Shostakovitch, who may be the best legacy from Soviet Union.
This opera is a breathtaking drama, modern however tuneful, perfectly adequate by music-libretto means, as if it was composed by R. Strauss without his romanticism.
We cannot avoid to compare Liceu-Anissimov 2004 version with Amsterdam- Jansons 2006 one.
Both of them have Ventris, more beefy in 2006, when we see also more nudity, should we like to be helped to realize Stalin s statement about "musical pornography". Both of them , at "grand finale", disguise the two drowned women unto an asfixiating murder, due to easier scenography of course.
The last act has some 8 minutes more in Liceu version, with a contemplative, thrilling,tragic,terrific glaze by N Secunde. I've never seen such an emotional-cinematographic scene since Boehm-Goetz Friedrich-Astrid Varnay Elektra and Salome. Beside, we have here nobody less than legendary Nesterenko as the Old Convict.
Economic,metaphoric and ironic directions rule both versions. May be Janson s conducting is even better than excellent Anissimov's in Barcelona. May be Eva Westbroek is a bit more sexy than Nadine Secunde.
Nevertheless, as an amazing spectacle, as a "sense of occasion", we get here in Liceu an unforgettable night.
Yes, there are liberties, there is an over mordacity, may be intending to overcome Leskov towards Gogol or even Solzhenitsyn. We know nowadays Shosta has been a veiled "enfant terrible" to Soviet regime. Surely, Stalin's rebuke was not just due to eroticism, but because comparision of Tsarist regime with Soviet regime is inevitable.
Well, if you like the old Shosta, modern opera "ma non troppo", this is a must.
My congratulations to Catalunia, which declares an Iberic culture can give World such a gorgeous Slavonic opera.
Flavio Jose Morsch
Santa Cruz do Sul, BRAZIL