Natalia: Natalia Pavlova
Lenka: Artyom Melikhov
Aksinia: Anna Kiknadze
Frol Baev: Yuri Yevchuk
Listrat: Yaroslav Petryanik
Storozhev: Andrei Serov
Afonka: Dinar Dzhusoev
Andrei: Nikolai Yemtsov
Kosova: Elizaveta Zakharova
Karas: Dmitry Koleushko
Antonov: Vitaly Dudkin
Ensemble of soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers
Chorus Master: Pavel Teplov
Musical Preparation: Larisa Gergieva
The Mariinsky Orchestra
Conductor: Pavel Petrenko
The songs of Tikhon Khrennikov (1913–2007), broadcast on regular occasions, have become part of our musical world. It is enough to recall the success of the film The Swineherd and the Shepherd or the post-war film Faithful Friends. The composer’s popular and theatre works include music for Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado about Nothing, the ballets The Hussars’ Ballade and With Love for Love, the operettas White Night and One Hundred Devils and One Girl and the operas Frol Skobeyev, The Golden Calf and The Mountain King.
Khrennikov began to compose the opera Into the Storm in 1936 following a commission from the Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre. The libretto of the opera, based on Nikolai Virta’s novel Loneliness, narrates an episode from the civil war era the events in a village of an Antonov-movement peasant uprising in Tambovshchina. Of course, these events are depicted in the spirit of the then Soviet ideology. It is equally important that Khrennikov’s opera, along with Ivan Dzerzhinsky’s And Quiet Flows the Don, emerged as officially approved aesthetics as an example of “socialist realism” and had to serve as a balance to the “formalist perversions” of the music of Shostakovich and Prokofiev.
If one ignores the clear ideological cost of interpreting recent history and the struggle of aesthetic preferences before us we have a work that is talented in the way it depicts its characters and which has a notable melodic richness.
The choral episodes come with the song of the girls I’ll wear a White Dress and the marching song Ranks into Line, Close Ranks are interspersed with solos and ensemble scenes such as the genre aria of Listrat The Accordion is Playing or Natasha and Lyonka’s love duet. Askinia’s motherly and heartfelt arioso The Falcons Have Flown cedes to Askinia, Lyonka and Listrat’s sad vocalise terzetto...
In the central third scene of the opera much space is dedicated to crowd scenes. On the other hand, the fourth scene is restrained in a lyric key a non-speaking (off-stage) chorus cedes to Natasha’s mournful aria “Alone, alone, all day and night alone...” and Natasha and Lyonka’s scene in which he sings a simple cradle song to his beloved. And in the fifth scene we are faced with the energetic march-like song of Listrat while in the sixth scene we have the prolonged peasant chorus If We Could Plough Now, the Watchman’s song People Are Coming from the North, Lyonka’s fervent song There Is a Glimmer in the Forest and the final triumphant chorus We Will Remember Everything...
The opera was premiered on 31 May in 1939 in Moscow. The second version of the opera was presented in Moscow on 12 October 1952.