The world project of the site-specific production of the opera "Fidelio" in the museum Perm 36 is jumpstarted. It is no secret that for the western audience "prison exoticism" is one of the main hallmarks of Russian life. Presumably, classic art, in our case without denying existing opinion, will help people overseas to have a broader understanding of Russia.
The idea of this project arose almost two years ago when English director and producer Michael Hunt had a visit to the museum of the history of political repressions "Perm 36". It's his mutual work together with the Artistic Director of Perm State Opera and Ballet Theatre George Isaakyan, which the whole opera company and theatre orchestra are involved in. The Beethoven's only opera has a modest theatre experience during the period of 200 years of its existence. Its main character, Leonore, disguises herself as a guard Fidelio and rescues her husband Florestan from death in political prison. According to the idea of the creators of Perm production, using former camp as a venue will form a strong bond between the history of tyranny of the XVI century, the theme of the piece, and totalitarianism of the Soviet period. Michael Hunt thinks that this production of Fidelio will create a memory piece, and in it, reflect the collective memory beyond. "This production, - says Michael Hunt, - is expected to be one of the greatest productions of the Beethoven's masterpiece in the world".
After a big number of meetings to discuss details relating to the future production, the project has now entered a phase of active preparation. The story will be told on three constructed scene interventions and the audience will be moved around the site as the story progresses. They are not the witnesses, they are the participants of the performance.
Directors of the museum plan to make the event also an effective educational project. It is expected that young people will have access to the camp during the rehearsal period to see how the work goes on. They are also welcomed to join the group of volunteers which consists of about 300 people.
Perm production has already become an interesting and attractive event for the western world. "The world opera classics in the place of national memory", - that's how the project was called by the Italian press. Soon after the Perm premiere "Fidelio" might be re-staged in Germany (Dachau camp) and France (former camp near Paris).
The premiere is scheduled for July, 3 and there will be only 7 performances to see, each of them is for 250 people of the audience.