|Original text of ANNUNCIATION in Russian
|Text of ANNUNCIATION in English
Maria, soprano without accompaniment, percussion
Angel of God, piano, celesta, percussion
The action takes place in the room of Mary.
The whole text is the monologue of Mary. In the beginning she spins.
Percussion (played by soprano): Indian Chimes, Wind Chimes, Triangles (several)
Percussion (played by a pianist): 5 Triangles, 3 Gongs (medium sise), Tam-tam, Crotales (c4 - c5)
The text of chamber opera ANNUNCIATION is based on described in the Chapter 1 of St. Luke's Gospel dialogue between Mary the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel who told about future birth of Jesus. Gradual penetration of the heavenly substance into Mary and her preparing to become the mother of God form a sense of the action. Dramatic tension appears between her happiness when she hears the message and presentiment of her own future tragedy.
Instrumental scoring (piano, celesta and metal percussion) is in no case a piano reduction but the only possible version for performance of this opera. Percussion instruments, played by the pianist and partly by the singer, symbolize the heaven. The piano incarnates Angel and his speech, and the pianist, consequently, is not a common accompanist but the second dramatis persona that takes direct part in the stage action. I got exited about innovative idea by Alexey Parin to put the speech of Angel - an extraordinary being - not into human singing (this would be quite banal) but instrumental music and without any word. Angel's message is not a mere user's guide, its semantics still has to be correctly scanned and understood. This "secret utterance" of Angel became the starting-point and caused the genre definition of the opera: stage dialogues without accompaniment.
Structure of the work
All the episodes follow each other without break.
Musical language of the opera does not contain any elements of traditional church music, it does not appeal to adherents of any specific religious denomination. This is spiritual music intended for the theatre or concert performance, without any allusion to divine service - the trend for which I expect great perspective in Ukraine. In its style the work tends towards musical modernism and avant-garde of the 20th century with such their attributes as atonality and modality, rhythmical complication, emancipation of timbral component, dissonant harmony, etc. Both horizontal and vertical elements of the texture have their common roots in several microthematic intervallic structures. Despite modernistic orientation, in soprano part cantabile style prevails. There were used various types of singing, such as contemporary bel canto, recitation, arioso, parlando, Sprechgesang, and others.
ANNUNCIATION was staged for the first time at the Moscow Music Theatre "Helikon-Opera" in 1999 as one of the parts of the performance "Voices of Invisible (Bible Triptych)", with soprano Tatiana Kuinji as Mary and Yuri Polubelov as Angel of God, stage producer Dmitri Bertman, costumes and stage design by Tatiana Tulubyeva. In 2000 it was awarded the Russian National Theatrical Prize Gold Mask in nomination "innovation".
List of works
© 2000 by Alexander Shchetynsky