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Vinogradov M.

The basics of theoretical activity of the prominent opera director-producer of the 20th century professor Walter Felsenstein

This article discusses the theoretical foundations of operatic works of the famous German director of the second half of the 20th century, Professor Walter Felsenstein. One of the features of his productions was his desire to get as close as possible to understanding the composer’s idea, “authentic reading” of the score. All the critics, since its first production, noted the high level of professionalism. The «Komische Oper» theater repeatedly toured the Soviet Union, and our audience enthusiastically accepted the theater’s performances. In 1969, the Director accepted an proposal from the Soviet government to staged Bizet’s Carmen at the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre. The process of rehearsing lasted a whole year, but due to this, many directors and artists were able to get acquainted with the Felsenstein’s method of work. Despite the fact that he did not leave behind a single theoretical work where his vision of music theater was stated, we can find his opinion about problems of music theatre as well as his principles of work in the numerous interviews, articles, and master classes. This article attempts to provide the theoretical foundations of the director’s work and to justify the division of his work into two periods. A comparative analysis of the creative approach to music directing of the work of the Felsenstein and Russian director A. Tairov, whose productions made a huge impression on Felsenstein. For the first time, the author analyzes the previously unpublished draft of the Opera Studio project, which he prepared in 1937, during the period when he was excluded from the Imperial Сhamber of theater workers of Germany. The project of the Opera Studio is the only document in which the he systematically sets out his views on the training of artists and employees of the music theater.

Key words

Felsenstein, Tairov, director, producer, opera, opera studio, vocal art, opera singer, theorist.

For citation

Vinogradov M. The basics of theoretical activity of the prominent opera director and producer of the 20th century professor Walter Felsenstein // South-Russian musical anthology. 2020. No 2. Pp. 142–149.