World Première of Shchedrin's "Cleopatra and the Snake" at Salzburg
The motto of the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele (Salzburg Pentecost Festival) is the legendary Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra. On this occastion, a spectacular world premeire will be presented as part of the concert series: The Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under the baton of Valery Gergiev ist presenting the new monodrama by Rodion Shchedrin: Cleopatra and the Snake. Soprano Mojca Erdmann is replacing Anna Netrebko who had to cancel her appearance due to illness. On his new work, the composer states:
"The dramatic scene Cleopatra and the Snake composed in 2011 is based on the text from Act V, Scene II of Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra in the Russian translation by Boris Pasternak. I consider Pasternak’s translation with its highly expressive visual imagery, sublimity and breathtaking language to be the kindred spirit of this masterwork.
The final scene in the Shakespearean tragedy is a treasure trove for composers. The ’boiling temperature’ of this dramatic collision rises sharply at this point of the play and substantially exceeds ’36.6°C’ (which would I think be highly detrimental for the operatic genre!). The conflict between life and death, the power of love and the ’drug of power’ provide the motivation for fatal decision made by the legendary beauty – the Queen of Egypt. I would categorise the genre of this dramatic scene Cleopatra and the Snake as a type of monodrama."
- Rodion Shchedrin
Cleopatra and the Snake
Dramatic scene for soprano and symphony orchestra (2011)
Text based on William Shakespeare's tragedy 'Antony and Cleopatra' (act V, scene 2), translated into Russian by Boris Pasternak
Commissioned by the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele 2012
• 28 May 2012 · Salzburg (A)
Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele 2012
Mojca Erdmann, soprano
Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
Conductor Valery Gergiev