Barrie Kosky’s mystical and visually striking production sweeps the audience into the enigmatic world of fairy tales—and in doing so tells us more about our times than you’d think. After stops in Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, and Adelaide, his celebrated production can now be experienced at the Komische Oper Berlin.
Tsar Dodon is plagued by worries: his kingdom is threatened by enemies all around, his sons don’t have any sensible advice either, and he’d rather just eat and sleep instead of looking after his country. An astrologer enters the scene with just the right solution: a golden cockerel that crows and flaps if danger looms. Dodon is thrilled, especially since the astrologer declines to name his price for this precious talisman until later on. But then, when war really breaks out, the cockerel crows, and his sons seem to have been lost in action, Dodon has to go there in person—even if his armour doesn’t really fit after a lifetime of indulgence. Instead of the anticipated battlefield, he encounters the unimaginably beautiful Queen of Shemakha. When Dodon falls rapturously in love with her, the disastrous course is set ...
Rimsky-Korsakov’s last piece of music theatre paints the magic of Pushkin’s dark fairy tale with a fantastic spectrum of sonic colours. Barrie Kosky translates these into images that are as poetic as they are mysterious, laying bare the innermost core of Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairy tale. Amusing, unsparing, and sensually shimmering in the blackest of night. ‘A great starry conjunction in the history of opera’ [ONLINE MERKER].
By the way
Barrie Kosky’s musical partner here is the new music director James Gaffigan, who’s conducting for The Golden Cockerel!