In October 2013, the Mariinsky label releases a DVD & Blu-ray of Strauss’ most Wagnerian of operas, Die Frau ohne Schatten. Filmed in the historic Mariinsky Theatre in 2011, it stars Russian tenor Avgust Amonov as The Emperor, Mlada Khudoley as The Empress, Olga Savova as The Nurse, and is conducted by Valery Gergiev. The Mariinsky Theatre is one of the few opera houses capable of staging Die Frau ohne Schatten, due to the demanding soloist roles, elaborate sets and large orchestral forces required.
This epic production, premiered in 2009, is a collaboration between two British artists, director Jonathan Kent and designer Paul Brown, and has become a regular fixture in the opera company’s schedule. Kent has a long established relationship with the Mariinsky, and with Strauss in particular.
'Die Frau ohne Schatten' (The Woman without a Shadow) is an outstanding display of virtuosity, presenting one of Strauss’ most complex and colourful scores. The three-act opera, with libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, is an exotic fairytale with a strong moral dimension, focusing on themes of the unborn and the supernatural. Avgust Amonov, who plays the role of The Emperor, has been a Mariinsky Theatre soloist since 2003. Prize-winner at the XIX International Glinka Vocalists’ Competition (2001) and the Irina Arkhipova Foundation (2004), his title roles include Shostakovich’s 'The Nose', Verdi’s 'Don Carlo' and Wagner’s 'Parsifal'. Soprano Mlada Khudoley was named “Singer of the Year” by the St Petersburg Theatre Society for her performance of the role of Sieglinde (Die Walküre) opposite Plácido Domingo in 2001. Her concert repertoire includes the soprano roles in Stravinsky’s 'Les Noces', Mahler’s Eighth Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Savova joined the Mariinsky Opera Company in 1996, and was nominated for a Grammy award in 2001 for her recording of Prokofiev’s 'Semyon Kotko'. Her repertoire also includes the mezzo-soprano roles in Verdi’s Requiem and Berlioz’s dramatic legend 'La damnation de Faust'.
DVD9 (REGION 0), NTSC 16:9
DURATION 3 hours 30'
RECORDED at the Mariinsky Theatre, December 2011
Henning Kasten [film director]
Performed in German. Subtitles – Russian, English, spanish, German and French