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The Idiot (Opera by Mieczysaw Weinberg)

The Idiot (Opera by Mieczysaw Weinberg)

Mieczystaw Weinberg
Opera in two acts
Libretto by Alexander Medvedev based on the novel of the same name by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Music Director: Michat Klauza
Stage Director: Evgeny Arie
Set Designer: Semyon Pastukh
Costume Designer: Galina Solovyova
Lighting Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Chief Chorus Master: Valery Borisov
Premiered on February 12, 2017.

Synopsis

Act One
Scene One

Prince Lev Nikolaevich Myshkin returns to St. Petersburg after years of treatment in Switzerland. On the train he meets Parfyon Rogozhin and Lebedev. Rogozhin has just inherited a fortune of two million from his father who died a sudden death. Not long before that Rogozhin had to flee from father's wrath after having spent ten thousand on a gift to Nastassya Filippovna whom he fell in love with at first sight.
Meanwhile Nastassya Filippovna is anxiously waiting for her fate to be sealed on that very night.

Scene Two
General Yepanchin and Totsky talk over the future of Nastassya Filippovna, Totsky's mistress. They want to marry her off to Ganya Ivolgin, which will allow Totsky to marry Yepanchin's daughter Aglaya. Ganya is getting a generous compensation for marrying a fallen woman: Totsky will give her a large dowry.
Prince Myshkin comes to meet his only relatives in St. Petersburg, the Yepanchins. The General does not welcome a guest with no money and no plans for the future. Ganya comes in to show the portrait of Nastassya Filippovna that she gave to him. The Prince is astonished.
General Yepanchin leaves his guest with his wife and three daughters: Aglaya, Alexandra and Adelaida.
Rogozhin is desperate to thwart Nastassya Filippovna's wedding and commands the moneylenders to get him a hundred thousand roubles by night.
The Yepanchins are fascinated by Myshkin's stories about his life in Switzerland. Ganya asks the Prince to pass a note to Aglaya. In his note he promises to break his betrothal for just one word from her.
In response Aglaya asks the Prince to tell Ganya that she does not condescend to bargain and to give him back his note. Ganya is outraged.

Scene Three
The Prince in lodging at the Ivolgins. He soliloquizes affectionately: «I don't believe, I won't believe that evil is fine for a man!» The family is gathered in the living room. Ganya's sister Varya is aghast that her brother is going to marry a dissolute woman whom he does not even love. Nastassya Filippovna arrives and is startled to find that the man she initially takes for a footman is Prince Myshkin. A drunken gang led by Rogozhin invades the place. Rogozhin tries to buy off Ganya, then Nastassya Filippovna herself in order to prevent the wedding. The bargain is interrupted by a scandalous scene: Ganya attempts to strike the repulsed Varya but is stopped by the Prince.

Scene Four
Yepanchin, Lebedev, Totsky and Ganya are Nastassya Filippovna's guests. The Prince arrives unexpectedly, uninvited. The hostess leaves it up to him to decide whether she should marry Ganya or not, and the Prince tells her she should refuse. «So be it» concludes Nastassya Filippovna. It is clear to her that Ganya was driven by greed alone. Rogozhin arrives. He has brought the hundred thousand roubles. The Prince proposes Nastassya Filippovna his hand in marriage saying that her life is not ruined, that she is not guilty but is the one who suffered. Nastassya Filippovna cannot accept his hand, she thinks she will ruin the prince. Taking Rogozhin's money, she throws it into the fire and commands Ganya to take it out. He faints. Rogozhin and Nastassya Filippovna ride away together.

Scene Five
The Prince arrives at Rogozhin's place. Rogozhin is certain that though Nastassya Filippovna lives with him she loves the Prince alone. Myshkin assures him that he is no rival and feels nothing but pity for her. They exchange crosses to become sworn brothers.
Rogozhin attacks the Prince, but the Prince falls insensible, and the murdered retreats.

Act II
Scene Six

The Princes recovers from his seizure in lebedev's summer house in Pavlovsk. The Yepanchins come to visit him. Aglaya sings a ballad about the Poor Knight, but the assumption that she might marry Myshkin makes her furious. Yepanchina laments the fate of a mother of grown-up daughters.

Scene Seven
Aglaya arranges a rendezvous with the Prince in the park. She wants to run away from home and asks him for assistance. But she is tormented by the thought of the Prince having lived with Nastassya Filippovna. This strange woman is harassing Aglaya with letters, persuading her to marry the Prince. Confused, Aglaya runs away. Nastassya Filippovna appears. She has decided to marry Rogozhin and her only wish is to know if Myshkin is happy.

Scene eight
The Yepanchins are perplexed by the news of the Prince being Aglaya's suitor. When asked directly about his intention to ask for her hand, the Price says he asks for it. Lebedev informs the Prince that Aglaya has arranged a meeting with Nastassya Filippovna.

Scene Nine
The Prince and Aglaya are at Nastassya Filippovna's. The rivals throw the Prince into a dilemma, and, unable to set pity aside, he chooses Nastassya Filippovna. But their wedding never takes place: she runs away with Rogozhin on her way to church.

Scene Ten
Coming to Rogozhin's place the Prince learns that Nastassya Filippovna is dead by Rogozhin's hand.

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