Stalin in the performance of the Moscow Art Theater Red Mozart looks like a good-natured joker

Stalin in the performance of the Moscow Art Theater Red Mozart looks like a good-natured joker
Stalin in the performance of the Moscow Art Theater Red Mozart looks like a good-natured joker
24 September 2020, 12:24Culture
The creators of Red Mozart made the composer Dunaevsky Mozart, the film director Aleksandrov - Salieri, and Stalin - a nice uncle...

Angelica Zaozyorskaya

Red Mozart is the first premiere of the Moscow Art Theater named after Gorky in the new season (the play is on today - September 23 on the Big Stage). Director Renata Sotiriadi staged a musical comedy based on a play by Dmitry Minchenko about director Grigory Alexandrov (Sokol), Isaac Dunaevsky (Dunya Vorobey), Lyubov Orlova (Lyubov Petrovna) and Stalin. This performance has become a kind of rebus for theater-goers and critics. Musicologist Vera Tariverdiyeva shared her impression of the play with Novye Izvestia:

- This is a big, interesting job. But there is something not mine in this story. But I pay tribute to the creators of the play and take off my hat!

Tariverdiyeva knows the world of cinema well. With her husband Mikael Tariverdiev, she participated in the creation of two of the most famous film festivals: Window to Europe in Vyborg and Kinotavr in Sochi. Without a doubt, she knows the biography of Grigory Alexandrov and Isaac Dunaevsky, as well as their work. The author of the play Red Mozart Dmitry Minchenok (he penned the biography of Isaac Dunaevsky in ZhZL (Lives of Great people book series)) created a light, almost divine image of Isaac Dunaevsky, which was embodied on the stage of the Moscow Art Theater by a young charming artist Timur Druzhkov.

But with the Mozart of Soviet cinema - the author of the comedies Merry Fellows, Circus, Volga, Volga, Spring by Grigory Alexandrov (actor Maxim Dakhnenko) - it was a disaster. It is possible, of course, today to imagine Aleksandrov as the director-ideologist of the USSR, Stalin's lackey and a sort of "hysterical woman" who is afraid of her own shadow. But this, if we forget that Aleksandrov, together with Sergey Eisenstein, created the masterpiece of all times and peoples "Battleship Potemkin" and would have described this process in detail in his book The Age and Cinema. It clearly, dryly, without any sentimentality, conveyed the meetings with Lenin and Stalin. Aleksandrov and Stalin in the director's memoirs and in the play Red Mozart have nothing in common. Moreover, different characters and opposite approaches to creativity. “Stalin is strict, thoughtful, not inclined to talk”, - Aleksandrov recalls in the book. Stalin spoke to him only about cinema and said sensible things that Aleksandrov described. Sergey Shakurov plays Stalin "a fiance in a white jacket, stupid and sentimental".

The director Renata Sotiriadi seems to be changing the roles of Stalin and Aleksandrov, and the director is a tyrant, despot, tyrant, general (he walks in a general's uniform) and an avid smoker, while Stalin is a playful good-natured. For many years Grigory Aleksandrov kept a Diary every day, and the Vnukovo Archive was published, and at about the time referred to in the play Red Mozart, Aleksandrov “did not drink, did not smoke”. Let's say these are details and the so-called “fictional fiction” (although the plot of the play is based on Stalin's pipe, which someone had stolen), only Grigory Aleksandrov was not a tyrant and villain.

Otherwise, he would not have made these kind and cheerful comedies! Otherwise, Isaac Dunaevsky would not have worked with him for many years! Otherwise, the general's daughter Lyubov Orlova would not have lived with him all her life! Well, there was nothing from Salieri in Aleksandrov, as it follows from the play Red Mozart. Moreover, it was he, and not Dunaevsky, who was a folk nugget and self-taught. For the sake of a funny comedy on stage, you can think of anything you want, but dressing Grigory Aleksandrov in Stalin's uniform is not entirely fair in relation to the director, whose family has suffered greatly from the repressions.

The play Red Mozart is dedicated to the 120th anniversary of Isaac Dunaevsky and is dedicated to him. Music is a full-fledged hero of the play, and listening to it even in the imperfect performance of dramatic artists is a pleasure. But there is also the great cinema of Grigory Alexandrov, and he is presented in the film as something mediocre, custom-made, secondary. The play is about making a film, and music is an important part of the picture, but far from the main one. At the same time, the play Red Mozart deserves applause, because it delights in the skill of the actors, decoration (production designer Boris Krasnov), interesting directorial finds, song, dance, humor, love for the theater, for people and love in general.

Red Mozart conveys the atmosphere of the 30s of Soviet Russia, when people, after the horror of the civil war, the NEP, began to live like a human being, study, fall in love, dress up, go to the cinema, but at the same time terror was already beginning to squeeze the country in its deadly embrace. In Red Mozart is shown not only the complex relationship between the artist and the authorities, but also the relationship between romantics and cynics, "snakes and falcons", winged and wingless. Indeed, the Moscow Art Theater team did a tremendous job, to which one cannot help but take off his hat, only Grigory Alexandrov was not Salieri. However, Antonio Salieri, in fact, is not the same Salieri described by Pushkin, but a very good composer, teacher, perhaps without a divine gift.

Grigory Aleksandrov, in his book The Age in Cinema, recalls the story of Sergei Prokofiev, where there is good advice not only for musicians, but also for actors and directors: "In order to make a ruble, dimes need to be melted":

Composer Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev told me how Rimsky-Korsakov taught him to write music. “Many young composers”, said Rimsky-Korsakov, “think that it is enough to find a few folk motives, orchestrate them, and you will get a symphony. But ten times ten kopecks is not a ruble. This is ten times ten kopecks. In order to make a ruble, dimes need to be melted"

Unfortunately, the play Red Mozart does not yet have such an amalgamation of playing, music, direction, and text to produce a full-fledged ruble. But there are many “dimes”, and they are real.

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