This article is from 2006.
Opera plots are often convoluted, and Tchaikovsky’s tale of the Cossack captain who is doomed in love and battle, murders his potential father-in-law, shows clear signs of schizophrenia etc etc, is no exception. ‘Mazeppa is not often performed,’ says Festival Director Brian McMaster, ‘not because the music isn’t fantastic - it really is - but because its slightly stupid plot is on a huge scale.’ Just under four hours in length, Mazeppa is performed by Opera National de Lyon, with an almost entirely Russian cast, headed up by the phenomenal young conductor Kirill Petrenko and legendary director Peter Stein. ‘He will bring his theatrical skills to make sense of the plot,’ says McMaster. Suffering from severe depression when writing it, Tchaikovsky’s music is pretty gloom-laden, with the tragedy of human relationships at its heart. But it’s a rare and welcome chance to see Mazeppa, so don’t be put off. (Carol Main)
Festival Theatre, 473 2000, 22 & 24 Aug, 7.15pm, £9.50-£59.