In these days of Christmas in St. Petersburg was visited by the intendant of the Paris Opera, Stephane Lissner is one of the most influential people in the world of Opera. In a poster for each season of his famous theater, he will certainly include the Russian Opera. What led him to this time in the Russian Northern capital? This is what I found out after talking with Stefan Lissner during intermission of “La Traviata” at the Mikhailovsky theatre.
— I must say that I was not the first time at the Mikhailovsky theatre, says Mr. Lissner. — I have strong impressions of the great hall (I do love the big theatres for a thousand or more seats): here is a good ratio of performers and audience, very good acoustics and atmosphere, and still sounded great, the orchestra (that evening was conducted by Mikhail Tatarnikov. — M. R.). Although the score of “La Traviata”, Verdi wrote that the Opera it is designed for small rooms.
I actually have two favorite cities — Palermo and St Petersburg. In St. Petersburg I was four times and the fourth time I visited the Hermitage — you can always come back. Was at the Conservatory, went to Tsarskoe Selo, where the magnificent Catherine Palace, and was in the city market.
— You are not lucky with the weather: Petersburg in the winter without snow is boring.
— I the weather in St. Petersburg I like it more than Paris, which is now +10…+12 degrees, and it’s wrong, too hot for winter. I been to Moscow. I like the restored Bolshoi theatre, I like your makharbek Vaziev, I worked in Scala, and I consider that Great luck with this choreographer. But Moscow is a different city than Petersburg. Moscow with character, hard, and St. Petersburg — city of the arts, it has more intimacy.
— But to what end you are at the Mikhailovsky theatre?
— We are discussing a joint project with Vladimir Kekhman this and 2020. I think to work with him here and in Novosibirsk.
We already have specific names?
— We are talking about productions of classical and contemporary ballets. Kekhman himself interested in the ballet by Alexander Ekman’s “Play”, it is possible to show in Novosibirsk, why not? And in July the Mikhailovsky we will bring a night of modern choreography.
— Every season at the Paris Opera you release the Russian Opera. The last one was “snow white” staged by Dmitry Chernyakov.
— I made in Paris a large series of Russian operas, Shostakovich, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky. But Chernyakov’s going to do “Queen of spades”. So I will each year include in our repertoire of Russian Opera.
— Chernyakov very talented Director. But why only he is invited by you from Russia?
— Not only — Dodin came to us. But I Chernyakov very interesting, and it works not only on Russian Opera, he will put him in the 21st year. Why him? I love long-term relationship with the Directors with whom I work. In fact, they become my family. I like to go back to the same names, so I do not drive and do not choose anyone.
— You have Russian roots, but you don’t speak Russian.
— My grandfather, Leon Lissner was born in the Baltic States. My father is Russian, mother is Hungarian. Dad and grandma talking in Russian, and with her mother in French. My mother wanted me to learn German. And so it was. I only know “thank you”. Someday I will learn the Russian language.