Sunday, 23 November 2014

Max Bruch Die Loreley - non-Wagnerian Wagner ?

Live from Prinzregententheater, Munich, Max Bruch's opera Die Loreley (op 16, 1863) on BR Klassik. The opera is rarely heard in full, and there's no complete recording, so this performance is quite a significant event.  BR Klassik pulls out all the stops. The Münchner Rundfunkorchester (conducted by Stefan Blunier) joins with the Prague Philharmonic Choir  (the opera was popular once in 19th century Prague).  A very good cast: Michaela Kaune, Magdalena Hinterdobler, Danae Kontora,Thomas Mohr, Benedikt Eder, Jan Hendrik Rootering and Sebastian Campione. The performance has been supported with talks, podcasts etc. As to be expected, the opera, with a libretto by Emmanuel Geibel, is in the Romantic style, but is surprisingly un-Wagnerian, harking back perhaps to earlier German music theatre. Certainly the choruses suggest Wagner, but the connections to Weber and Marschner are also valid. Critics at the time used Bruch as a stick with which to attack "the anti musical system" of Wagner, "There shrill dissonaces, no torture of the ears, no ugliness...,, no motivic references which trumpet 'I am the King' eccentric couplings of heterogenous instruments such as piccolo and timpani and similar trivial hocus-pocus...Let this beautiful and pure German work make its own way forward ! Our great theatres will not regret taking on this patriotic work of art" (quoted by Christopher Fifield in "Max Bruch: His life and works"

Bruch was in his 20's when the piece was written, so one shouldn't expect miracles. In 1863, Clara Schumann was impressed by the youth of the composer, though less so by the dramatic thrust of the opera. "The text, by the way, " she told a friend, "is awful". Bruch made several revisions. In 1887 in Leipzig, the young Gustav Mahler prepared the score for performance. In 1916, Hans Pfitzner revived it in Strassburg but it's never become entrenched in the repertoire. Nonetheless, on its own terms, it's hugely enjoyable, though I should add that I'm predisposed towards pre-Wagner German music theatre. To some the strophic folk songs might be a bit quaint.  But there are many good moments, not only for the main soprano but also for the main tenor and bass. The Final Act is impressively heroic. This performance is probably the best we'll get. Hopefully,  this will be rebroadcast and issued on CD. 

I love the photo at the top because it's surreal. It's an early postcard depicting a tour boat sailing down the Rhine, past the famous cliff where the Loreley is supposed to lie, luring sailors to their deaths. No doubt the tourists are thrilled, quaffing beer, wine and sausages. oblivious to danger. All this massive Loreley has to do is bend her arm down and scoop them up!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Inspirational Rameau Platée, Early Opera Company St John's Smith Square

Rameau's Platée is a perfect blend of fantasy and fun, an ideal entrée to Rameau's exuberant idiom. Paul Agnew is closely identified with it, since he sang the part of Platée in the groundbreaking production preserved on DVD. When news came that  he'd be conducting Platée for the Early Opera Company at St John's Smith Square, I was thrilled. The Early Opera Company and its much loved conductor Christian Curnyn are excellent, but their greatest strengths lie in Handel. Agnew's very presence seemed to electrify the players, who responded with  an exceptional performance, which will be remembered for many years.

Agnew brings to his conducting the insights gained from having sung the part so well. Yet he's infinitely more than a conductor who sings. He's been part of the Les Arts Florissants family for many years, so closely connected with William Christie that last year he was made joint Musical Director.  Agnew has also worked with other conductors and companies in the field, including Mark Minkowski. He's a force to be reckoned with.  How exciting it must have been for the Early Opera Company to work with one of the best in the business! Several of the singers at this performance have sung the same parts in other productions, but one got the impression that Agnew was inspiring them with new challenges. 

In the extended Prologue, Thespis (who symbolizes Acting), Momus (Satire) and Thalie (Comedy)  dream up the plot, in which Platée, a frog, falls in love with Jupiter, the King of the Gods. Mark Milhofer, Callum Thorpe and Emilie Renard sing the parts with "woozy" undertones: they're inspired by Bacchus, who loosens inhibitions.  Agnew gets the orchestra to "sing" too. Woodwinds chirp, strings play bright, chirping figures and the sole double bass ( Judith Evans) drones somnolent notes. We hear Nature, bathed in moonlit mystery, and the sounds of frogs and other pond-life croaking contentedly. As Citheron (Martijn Cornet) and Mercure (Mark Milhofer) plot their tricks, their voices ever so slightly flatten out with deliberately ugly edges. Wonderful characterization! These godly figures are dishonest, so they're really no better than slime.
Platée was written to entertain Louis XV and his court on the occasion of the Dauphin's marriage in 1745. The bride was a Spanish Infanta, who was very ugly.  Platée is a frog whose realm is a pond in the wilds, the opposite of refined, elegant Versailles. She/he has pretensions: she/he thinks everyone she meets will fall in  love with her. The part was written for a travesti, a man pretending to be a woman, which makes the satire rather cruel.  The man who sang the original was costumed so he looked as though he was covered in pustules. Thomas Walker (pictured left) entered, dressed in lime green, a nod to the frog suit Agnew wore in Laurent Pelly's production at the Opéra Comique, He wore a wig, fake cleavage and a beard, suggesting even more subversive levels in the opera Rameau would never have dared openly express. Walker sang Platée in Stuttgart, and knows it well, but I suspect Agnew will inspire him to explore it even further. There's a nice bite in his voice which he could use to sharpen the wit in the role. Platée is deeply humiliated by the Gods, but rises above their cruelty by being him/herself, returning to the pond where he/she reigns.

Singing Jupiter, Callum Thorpe has authority, but the liveliness in  his singing  reminds us that the King of the Gods isn't a nice man. He'd willingly hurt what he considers a lesser being in order to get back at his wife Junon (Emilie Renard). Renard and Emmanuelle de Negri (L'Amour, Clarine, La Folie) sang their parts in the recent Robert Carsen production of Platée which Agnew also conducted. Both have long-term connections with Les Arts Florissantes. it would be almost impossible to equal Mireille Delunsch's magnificently manic La Folie, but de Negri impressively negotiated the fiendishly difficult leaps up and  down the scale. 

Throughout the opera, Rameau builds satire into the very heart of the music. "Quoi,  quoi,  quoi,  quoi" the singers and chorus repeat.  The refrain sounds comic, like the croaking of frogs. It's also  a question that cannot be answered in an era when gods and kings can do what they want with impunity,but which must be asked by those with a moral conscience. In the absence of dancers, Agnew defines the detail in the divertissements, so they come alive with jaunty energy. Rameau's music takes its pulse from dance, and from physical expression. Rollicking good fun !. Life in the pond, amongst Nature, is so much more fertile than the false refinement of the Gods.

This performance also marked a new relationship between The Early Opera Company and St John's Smith Square. SJSS has long been a magnet for baroque performance, because it is, after all, a genuine period building.  The facilities are excellent, and the stage accommodates a reasonable sized orchestra. With companies of the calibre of The Early Opera Company, its profile should rise ever higher.

photo of Paul Agnew : Denis Rouvre

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Barbican Rameau Maître à danser Christie Les Arts Florissants

Maître à danser: William Christie and Les Arts Florissants at the Barbican, London, presented a defining moment in Rameau performance practice, choreographed with a team of dancers. Maître à danser, not master of the dance but a master to be danced to: there's a difference. Rameau's music takes its very pulse from dance. Hearing it choreographed connects the movement in the music to the exuberant physical expressiveness that is dance. Furthermore, the very structure of Rameau's music is influenced by the intricate patterns of dance. Rameau was a music theorist as well as a composer: his nephew was Didérot, the encyclopédiste, so this precise orderliness is fundamental to the idiom. Think about baroque gardens, where the abundance of nature is channelled into formal parterres, though woodlands flourish beyond, and birds fly freely.This tension between nature and artifice livens the spirit : gods mix with mortals, improbable plots seem perfectly plausible.

In these miniatures, one hears The Full Rameau. "You don't have to wade through a prologue, five acts and a postlude, as Christie has quipped. With dancers, the music becomes even more vivid. Sophie Daneman directed. She's a very good singer, specializing in the baroque and in Lieder. She first worked with Christie on Hippolyte et Aricie some 20 years ago.  On this evidence, she's a very good director, too.

Christie and Les Arts Florissants presented two miniatures, Daphnis et Églé  (1753) and La naissance d'Osiris. (1754). both were written as private entertainments for Louis XV and his court at Fontainebleau, after days spent out in the forests hunting for game. The context is relevant. these pieces also commemorate the birth of two royal princes.  The Barbican stage was lit beautifully,suggesting candlelight in a darkend room, creating the right hushed tone of reverence.  The King wanted to be amused. The show had to flatter his image of power. Both pieces present Happy Peasants, acting out simple, innocent lives, thanks to the benevolence of their King. When the second infant prince grew up, he was crowned Louis XVI and built Le petit Trianon, to act out pastoral idylls.

There's so little drama in Daphnis et Églé that its basically a masque for dancing,  Daphnis (Reinoud Van Mechelen) and Églé (Élodie Fonnard), shepherd and shepherdess, are friends who gradually fall in love over a sequence of 16 tableaux.  Daphnis flirts with a stranger, singing a lovely air. Églé drags him away. Dancers supply interest in the absence of plot. Each of these vignettes represent a different type of dance. Françoise Denieau choreographed. Fans of early dance will enthuse about the finer details.  I enjoyed the diversity and intricate formations, charmed by  the natural precision of the dancers.  It felt like hearing the score come alive. Van Mechelen and Fonnard are familiar names on the French baroque circuit. Fonnard's particularly pert and dramatic  and Van Mechelen has good stage presence. The first performance of this piece in 1753 flopped, apparently because the singers were duds. Fonnard and Van Mechelen most certainly are not.

Daphnis et Églé works well when its slender charms aren't overwhelmed by excess opulence.  Daneman's staging reflects this innocence, A simple cloth is held up on sticks to suggest  peasant theatre.  Alain Blanchot's costumes (organic dyed fabric?) show the shepherds and shepherdesses in what would have been normal 18th century costume for their class, ie "modern" for the time. Daneman has worked with Christie since their first Hippolyte et Aricie together some 20 years ago.
La naissance d'Osiris is altogether more substantial.  This time the French shepherds and shepherdesses congregate around an Egyptian temple (not literally depicted), worshipping Jupiter, much in the way paintings of this period showed European landscapes populated with Europeans and semi-naked figures from Classical Antiquity. There;s a particularly beautiful part for musette (baroque bagpipes). The player gets to walk around the stage, among the dancers, just as at a peasant celebration. The idyll is shattered with a violent thunderstorm, the full force of Les Arts Florissants unleashed in splendid fury. Great lighting effects (Christoph Naillet). From up in the gods in the Barbican balcony, Pierre Bessière's Jupiter fulminates.  He will save the people by giving them his hero son, danced by a lithe young male dancer. Although the monarchy didn't know what was to come later, we can appreciate the poignancy in  these pieces because we do.

Since La naissance d'Osiris was written to mark the birth of Louis XV's second son (the future Louis XVI)  the allusion is audacious. The king of the Gods rules with divine authority, like an absolute monarch. The people know their place.  The piece is political  power game, Fonnard sang Cupid, with simple wings stuck to her back - sweetly naive, but firmed by Fonnard's feisty  singing. Sean Clayton sang A Shepherd and Arnaud Richard sang the High Priest. Eventually Jupiter takes his leave, and the Three Graces dance a lively trio.   

Although Rameau's music had to be written to please a royal patron, at heart its gentle good humour and humanity triumph. We in the modern audience were able to experience Rameau presented with great depth and sensitivity.  Plenty of  Rameau on this site - please click on label "Rameau" below

Monday, 17 November 2014

Andreas Scholl Wigmore Hall - Art and folk, defying boundaries

Eclectic programming, as we can expect at the Wigmore Hall. Andreas Scholl and Tamar Halperin performed a very unusual selection showing the close connection between popular song and art song.  Snobs who sneer at crossover don't know music history. Scholl, being a countertenor has long enjoyed exploring early song, created long before the dividing lines between classical and pop were even defined. Read Oswald von Wolkenstein, King of the Road, for example where Scholl  sings the songs of a 14th century singer/songwriter who travelled across Europe in the company of soldiers, troubadours and other adventurers, a prototype perhaps of the Jacques Brels and  Bob  Dylans of our time.

Scholl set the mood with a song by Joseph Kilna Mackenzie, a hit on the modern folk circuit, and featured in a movie. It's a Highland lament, but utterly original.  Sergeant Mackenzie was a real person, who died heroically in the First World War, and a relative of the composer  The song thus connects to oral tradition although it's thoroughly through composed. The voice intones with grave dignity, while a drone wails around it, suggesting bagpipes or some even more primeval instruments. Scholl's voice ranges from  tenor to near falsetto: no fixed notions about fach, here, just pure and very personal music.  Then on to Randy Newman In Germany Before the War, a far less effective song, and Chava Alberstein (born 1947)  Ikh shtey unter a Bokserboym,  a modern Israeli version of a Yiddish folk song.  All three songs connect thematically, the artists responding to the troubled times of our era. Perhaps  pop reaches audience who need the message most.

Back to Scholl's "home territory" with a transcription of Machaut (Douce Dame Jolie) and three songs by Benjamin Britten based on traditional airs, like Greensleeves, Down by the Salley Gardens and The Ash Grove. Nobody quite sings these as evocatively as Scholl, whose agile voice gives them a magical elusiveness that seems almost not of this mundane world.  Maybe folk song should be gruff and rough, but Scholl shows how magical and artistic they can be.

Folk song traditions were created by women, as much as by men. Thus Sasha Argov: Shir Éress - "Lullaby", another "modern Israeli folk song.  The timbre is so high that it suits Scholl's voice perfectly,  Tamar Halperin played Debussy: Jimbo's Lullaby from Children's Corner and Janacek: Our Evenings from On an Overgrown Path with great sensitivity., and two of her own transcriptions of traditional melodies, black is the colour of my true love's hair and I gave my love an apple, enhanced by Scholl;'s plaintive, plangent singing.

The Lochamer Liederbuch of 1460 is the earliest published collection of early German song. It connects not only to popular folk song but also to Minnesang, the artistic lyrical song tradition that pre-dates "classical" song and Lieder. Scholl and Halperin ended with settings from Brahms Volkslieder collections, Darunter in Tal, All mein' Gedanken and In stiller Nacht. Long before most other composers, and British composers in particular, Brahms revived the simple humanity of folk music in a thoroughly "modern", distinctive way of his own. To emphasize the point, Scholl and Halperin then did a new version of In Stiller Nacht. Tradition lives on, ancient heritage inspires a brave new future.

Munich Manon Lescaut Kaufmann Opolais listening LINK

Highlight of the Munich season, Puccini Manon Lescaut with Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais. Saturday's performance was screened live on NDR, but you can catch the FULL audio-only transmission on BR Klassik HERE (click on the tiny little window). The Bayerischen Staatsoper pulled the video off their livestream programme at the last minute, but the film is in the can: perhaps we can hope for a DVD  According to Die Welt, it's pretty good.  Anna Netrebko pulled out at the last minute too, but her absence is no great loss: Opolais is sublime, even freer and more passionate than in London.

The same stars in two very different productions, which will be compared with each other for years to come (Rattle's Baden-Baden Manon Lescaut, despite an excellent Eva Maria Westbroek (reviewed here), doesn't come close). Antonio Pappano has the edge over Munich's Alain Altinoglu, though the latter is much more impressive in Puccini than he was in Don Giovanni (more here). Kaufmann and Opolais, however, are now confirmed as the dream pairing. Not only do they sing gloriously, but they respond to each other so well that the dynamic relationship seems extraordinarily real and personal. There's more to opera than good singing and acting: Kaufmann and Opolais stimulate each other, inspiring each other to ever greater heights. Netrebko is excellent, but she's also artist enough to know how well matched Kaufmann and Opolais are together.

The biggest difference is in the staging. The London production was directed by Jonathan Kent, who also created the ROH's very retro Tosca, and isn't a director known to shock. Yet it was attacked  because it showed Manon in the sex trade. But what were they expecting?  The whole premise of Abbé Prévost's plot is that she goes wrong because she sells sex for money and doesn't value love until it's too late. Please read my review of the London production HERE In Opera Today. 

I haven't seen Hans Neuenfels' production yet, but he, too, is a director whose ideas come direct from the score itself, unorthodox as they may seem at first. Please see my piece on Neuenfels' Lohengrin. Everyone who reads a score "interprets" if they are making any kind of effort at all. The better the composer, the better the opera, the greater the potential for greater understanding. "Trust the composer" anti-moderns wail, but it is they who should trust the music and artistry. From stills (not the best guide to any production) Neuenfels' production seems austere, maybe a good thing since musically it's so strong. Most reports i've read so far are very positive. But some focus mainly on Kaufmann's beard.  In real life, Kaufmann's very sexy and fairly hairy, so why shouldn't he have a beard when he's playing a character with intense sexual feelings?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Gala du tricentenaire de l'Opéra Comique

The Opéra Comique marked its tricentenary  with a gala spectacular on Thursday, now available on  Highly recommended: it's brilliant! The house is seen in all its glory - but wait - the boxes have been invaded. Pierrot chases Columbine among the  modern patrons. It's a reference to the origins of the Opéra Comique, in fairs and numerous small theatres  some 300 years ago. Riotous good fun - subversive humour. French opera wasn't timid! A figure resembling Louis XIV appears, holding a banner marked "1680", a reference to Molière and the Comédie Française.  A quartet of figures in 18th century costume  perform an extract from Antoine Dauvergne's Les Troquers, premiered by the Opéra Comique in 1753. In contrast, a selection from La Fille du régiment (another Opéra Comique premiere) including 'Salut à la France', where Julie Fuchs sings, draped in the tricolour and wearing black boots.  François-Xavier Roth leads the orchestra into the march from Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust. Pierrot reads a letter from the Opéra Comique to Berlioz, not very conplimentary. Anna Caterina Antonacci appears and sings  'D'amour l'ardente flamme'. A stunningly beautiful moment. Then Bizet walks on, nervously, defended by a splendid Big man (Michel Fau) dressed as Carmen as seen in the Opéra Comique premiere, which was a scandalous flop. Yet now it's the world's favourite opera.  So much for dismissing things first time round. Antonacci sings the Habanera, underlining the point. The figure of Offenbach appears, dozing, teased by Fau's spicy Carmen. Sabine Devieilhe twitters 'Les oiseaux dans la charmille' and Vincent Le Texier sings 'Scintille, Diamant'.

The stage turns pink, yellow and purple for Delibes' Lakmé : lurid colours for the luridly exotic coloratura. "Où va la jeune hindoue", sings Devieilhe.  More ultra-high notes to come - Patricia Petibon scales the heights with 'Air du Cour-la-Reine' from Massenet Manon. A print from the original production is projected onto the plain backdrop while Petibon and  Frédéric Antoun sing the scene in Saint-Sulpice. A wonderful juxtaposition of past and present, showing how intelligent video and lighting can achieve marvellous effects. In an instant, the visuals change, flames pouring from the backcloth, filling the stage - what directors of the past would have given for that!  

Pierrot reappears, talking about new technology like electricity. Another total change of scene: we're in a naturalistic grotto of green and blue. The orchestra plays Debussy, but who's singing ? Michel Fau now dressed as Mélisande with a blonde wig. while Jérôme Deschamps, another actor, does Pelléas. It's hilarious, but also connects spoken theatre with what for many (like me) is the epitome of musical theatre. Now the scene doesn't change. Instead Vincent Le Texier and Stéphane Degout sing the scene in the caves: after the comic interlude, the menace seems even more oppressive. Harps and flutes introduce the next "scene" change: instantly Pelléas is outside, in the "open air"  Another striking scene change, the backcloth first showing an orchestra (reminding us of the music), then a nightscape outside an "Eastern" castle with palm trees. Degout sings "A travers le désert" from Henri Rabaud Mârouf, savetier du Caire. No need for camels. They're in the music. 

With Antonacci.  Le Texier, Degout, Petibon, Fuchs, Devieilhe, Antoun, François-Xavier Roth, Les Siècles for an orchestra and Accentus, the specialist choir for the chorus, the Opéra Comique brings together the finest, liveliest performers in the genre. But this is far more than a semi-staging with skits.  Fau and Deschamps connect the musical pieces to their history, and to the history of the Opéra Comique, and transform the stage so we feel the power of creative imagination.

The Cunning Little Vixen Gangnam Style !

Friday, 14 November 2014

"I'm a creative animal" - Barbara Hannigan

"I'm a creative animal" says Barbara Hannigan. Watch the documentary (51 minutes) from SRF, Switzerland  HERE.

Wigmore Hall Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Intercontemporain

Ensemble Intercontemporain, one of the great new music ensembles, made a welcome return to the Wigmore Hall  London, built around Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire,, with Salomé Haller. With characteristic wit, Ensemble Intercontemporain preceded Pierrot Lunaire with Luigi Dallapiccola Due studi (1946-7) and  Bruno Mantovani Carnaval for clarinet, piano and cello. (2014), enhancing the multiple connections between them. .

As a very young man, Luigi Dallapiccola heard Arnold Schoenberg  conduct Pierrot Lunaire in Florence in 1924.   In Due Studi, written 20 years later, Dallapiccola uses twelve-tone rows, but the influence of Pierrot Lunaire is much more subtle. There are two movements, Sarabanda and Fanfara e fuga.  Tight dialogue between Hae-Sun Kung (violin) and Hidéki Nagano (piano).

Ensemble Intercontemporain did the Wigmore Hall an honour by giving the world premiere of Bruno Mantovani's Carnaval for clarinet, piano and cello. (2014). which will be heard next week at the  Opéra Bastille.  Mantovani is a major figure in new music, greatly respected and widely performed, so this premiere was a significant event. Carnaval evolves over eight sections, each strikingly individual, yet written so tightly that the piece works, as a whole, like a powerful mechanism. "Clarinet and cello battle it out, their weapons adjacent notes - E and F -in a high register. Then they stop." writes Paul Griffiths in superb programme notes worthy of past standards at the Wigmore Hall  "The conflict, however remains, the two instruments  reiterating their points....with glissandos from the cello answered by arabesques from the clarinet". In the second section, the piano dominates, then withdraws as cello and clarinet soar in a heady maelstrom of flying quarter tones. ".....Dynamic wobbles and arpeggios.....luminous flurries and tremolandos are revisited before the music works back to a steady tempo"

Carnaval connects to Pierrot Lunaire in that it evolves through a series of different, and very individual "tableaux" to express something  that can't be articulated in speech but has strikingly vivid dramatic effect. The structure is tightly compressed, intensifying the sense of constant movement and sudden change. Disconcerting, but in a thrilling, satisfying way. Hopefully it will be performed again soon: hardly had the notes trailed off, than I wanted to hear it again, and again. It's that good. Jérôme Comte played the clarinet, Éric-Maria Couturier played the cello and Hidéko Nagano the piano - just three instruments, but they packed a powerful punch. 

When Salomé Haller entered for Pierrot Lunaire, it was almost immediately apparent that the performance would be neither wan nor pallid.  She didn't need to wear a Pierrot costume as did Albertine Zehme, the former actress who created the part for Schoenberg himself.  (See photo at right, where she's not in costume.)  Haller wore a dark suit with a glorious brooch of mother-of-pearl in the shape of two moons, one large, one smaller. At first, she simply presented the music as incantation. We were drawn into this surreal world as if by hypnosis, so that we were responding ourselves to what the songs might "mean" - a more creative process than listening passively. Haller began to "act", in much the way Sprechgesang isn't quite singing nor quite speech. This ambiguity worked well, suggesting stylized formality rather than realism. Is Pierrot real or a creation of the imagination  Who are these other personalities like the blasse Wässerin, the Dandy and the Madonna? The closer one gets to literal meaning, "das Bild des Glanzes zerfloß"

Pierrot Lunaire can turn the idea of narrative song upside down.  In this performance, what struck me was the relationship between voice and instruments that speak without words. Sophie Cherrier's flute sang, as flautists have sung for centuries, from Greek times to the present. When she exchanged flute for piccolo, the sound seemed even more ancient, even more plaintive.  This close relationship revealed the complex  structure that underpin's Schoenberg's creation. Wandering tonality and elusive images are held together on firm, orderly foundations. The songs don't work together as narrative, but reveal ideas constantly re-forming, and changing perspectives.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Live aus Wien Bychkov Khovanshchiina Saturday

Mussorgsky LIVE from the Wiener Staatsoper this Saturday, 15th November, 1930 Vienna time, on . Semyon Bychkov conducts Mussorgsky Khovanshchiina with Mit Ferruccio Furlanetto (Iwan Chowanski), Christopher Ventris (Andrei Chowanski), Herbert Lippert (Golizyn), Andrzej Dobber (Schaklowity), Ain Anger (Dossifei), Elena Maximova (Marfa), Norbert Ernst (Schreiber)