O Bozhe! A series of largely music events is being planned in Cardiff to mark the centenary of the 1917 Revolution. The events are presented as R17.
The focus will be classical music concerts at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and St David’s Hall and WNO’s autumn opera season will be given a Russian theme. There will be a drama element in the form of a Chekov play (from before the Revolution – name a post-Revolution play?) at the Sherman Theatre. There will also be a reworking of the dance Parade that was written for Diaghilev’s Paris-based Ballet Russes by Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau (also pre-Revolution just). It will be reworked by NDCWales artistic director Caroline Finn with music from BBC National Orchestra of Wales and will be the basis of the now established format of a procession.
The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama will open the proceedings with a chamber music festival called Twilight of the Tsars, featuring the Gould Piano Trio and Endellion Quartet, concerts by Russian artists such as pianist Yevgeny Sudbin and the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble and interpretations of Russian music from its young artists. St David’s Hall will also host selection of Russian music from the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra performing works by Borodin, Shostakovich, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Khachaturian, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Sinfonia Cymru will also give a series of Russia-themed concerts including Shostakovich, Beethoven, Mosolov, Shostakovich and Prokofiev and a Cardiff-based string ensemble, Mavron Quartet will also perform a series of Russian-themed concerts around Wales.
WNO’s autumn 2017 season will somewhat spread the definition to include two Russian and one Czech opera and cleverly programmes Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina and Janáček’s From the House of the Dead (which is based on the work by Dostoyevsky).
There will be other smaller associated events and some activity will be taken outside Cardiff, including WNO’s regular visit to Venue Cymru in Llandudno, concert tours and the Chekov will also be staged at touring venues around Wales.
The link with Wales given with by the organisers is the once radical traditions of the Valleys and the effect of the Russian Revolution on culture.
The event was launched in London last week.