The opera house La Monnaie de Munt in Brussels played Rachmaninov Troika in June, 2015. Rachmaninov’s three operas, Aleko, The Miserly Knight and Francesca da Rimini were for the first time ever performed together in one row.
Rachmaninov Troika is the first project to be presented outside La Monnaie´s opera house, while it is being renovated. The performances took place at Théâtre National. This has enabled the artistic team of Hotel Pro Forma to create a site-specific scenography suited to the Théâtre National’s imposing interior.
Rachmaninov Troika begins with Aleko. Aleko as opera and theatre. The space is deep. Aleko is quite literally a colourful narrative. The scenarios explode in a beauty of colours and shapes, until the end when everyone turns round and presents a black back to the audience in order to look at the white Aleko, who disappears alone up and out of the picture.
Interval. The chorus mixes with the audience as gipsies from Aleko to have a cup of coffee, collect empty bottles, disturb, stand and wait, sit and wait…
The Miserly Knight follows. Opera as architecture. The staircase is invisible, the space is flat. Five soloists are on the forestage, with filmed architecture as the background. The building adjoining the Theatre National, Cinema Marivaux, presents its rooms, once stylish and decorated, now in a state of advanced decay. We see the baron lonely in his dilapidated castle, alone with his vast fortune. Three other characters appear in their separate rooms. The beauty of the rooms is only on film.
Franceska concludes the Troika. It is opera as image. Once again the space is deep. We find ourselves in the underworld, in Dante’s Second Circle. The dead tell their stories to Dante. All colours have vanished, everything is in black & white, light and dark, shadows in the wind. The beauty is that which we see, that which we hear. The beauty is real