Expectations Are Fulfilled.
The concert of the Bolshoi theatre’s soloists at Carnegie Hall.
By Maya Pritzker.

It doesn’t happen that often. Everything turned out as I had predicted with the concert of the Bolshoi Theatre’s soloists at Carnegie Hall. It turned to be even better event than some of the spectators, myself included, had expected. All five singers distinguished themselves with excellent technique, great skill and powerful voices.

Makvala Kasrashvilli, not hiding her age (she is 60), is a unique master. She was superb at every gesture, at sounding every note and every exclamation. All transitions and changes in mood naturally became sincere multilayered whole which left no chance for distraction or analysis. Her technique cast a spell over the audience, even if her voice lost some of its richness. Despite Badri’ s cold, which the audience could not tell, it warmly accepted his performance. His Canio from “Pagliacci” and Turiddu from “Cavaleria Rusticana” sounded in best traditions of the Italian school. His Germann’s aria from the “Queen of Spades” was simply one of the best live performances. Mikhail Kazakov possesses deep and very beautiful bass. Though, possibly his young age, lack of experience an excessive application contributed to some heaviness …

Larisa Rudakova’s coloratura soprano was simultaneously clear and warm, she stayed the same in all registers with clear intonation. She opened the concert, not an easy task in its own right, with Ludmila’ aria from “Ruslan and Ludmila” by Glinka. She was perfect while performing this difficult aria and then singing even more challenging Marfa’s aria from the “Tzar’s Bride”. In the second act her performance of the famous Rosina’s aria from the “Barber of Seville” was light and playful. It’s rare here in the United States when Rosina’s part is sung by soprano. She was also brilliant and charming while performing Alabiev’s “Nightingale”.

Elena Manistina became the major discovery of the concert. She is a tall beauty with big and rich mezzo-soprano. Besides her natural beauty and despite her young age, Manistina possesses polished skill, taste and splendid vocal technique. All that she uses well to bring it together in her musical image on stage. Every minute she is on stage she knows what she is doing and why. She sang the arias of Marfa “Hovantschina”, Marina “Boris Godunov”, the arias from Donizzetti’s “Favorita” and Cilea’s” Adriana Le Couvrere”. It’s hard to say in which role she was better. Manistina has excellent control over her voice, wonderful verbiage and magnificent legato. She has too many merits to go on and the question is whether Metropolitan Opera noticed such a performer. She was the winner of Placido Domingo’s “Operalia” and had already sung in Washington and L.A., It is time for her to perform on the stage of the Met.

However, Larisa Rudakova, Badri Maisuradze and Mikhail Kazakov,- all ofthem can adorn the productions of American opera companies.

In the Bolshoi theatre they blame Gergiev for his favoritism of the Mariinsky’s performers. Gergiev gave the Mariinsky’s performers lots of interesting work and took them abroad. He did for his performers what the Bolshoi Theatre should have done for its own if the Bolshoi had someone like Gergiev.

However it is never too late. Hopefully this concert at the Carnegie Hall organized by International Concerts and supported by the emigrant Russian community may change things for the better. Meanwhile we are delighted with the Bolshoi soloists and their style marked by today’s openness to the world. Hopefully there were some professionals among the audience at Carnegie Hall who will help the Stars of the Bolshoi make their way in the world of American productions.

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