Karetnikov: Till Eulenspiegel

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Composer: Nikolai Karetnikov
Artists: Boris Koudriavstev (Till), Ékatérina Mazo (Nele), Alexeï Martynov (Lamme), USSR Cinema Symphony Orchestra, Emin Khachaturian & Valery Polyanksy (conductors)

“Multiform and yet organically homogeneous, modern and yet timeless, comical and yet deeply moving, Nikolai Karetnikov’s Till Eulenspiegel is certainly an opera unlike any other in contemporary music.” (André Lischke)

Russian composer Nikolai Karetnikov was born in 1930, and was a student of the famous teacher and composer Vissarion Shebalin. He is of the same generation of “Angry Young Men (and Women..)” Denisov, Schnittke and Gubaidulina, who didn’t conform to Soviet aesthetics as laid down by Kabalevsky, but went their own ways.

Karetnikov’s style is wildly eclectic in a highly personal way: 5 centuries of styles and genres pass by in a collage like procession, from Minnesänger songs, burlesque mass scenes, modal scales, dance rhythms to 12-tone structures. Modern but timeless, comical but deeply moving, this is an opera with a difference! In 2,5 hours there is not a single dull moment.

Karetnikov’s Till Eulenspiegel has been described as “the finest Russian opera since Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth” (Gramophone). The product of almost 20 years’ work, a true fusion of many types of opera, thanks to the buffa elements of Till’s trickster personality, the drama of Klaas’ death, and the opéra engagé nature that introduces the characters of Charles V, Philip II and the Count of Egmont.

In the title role is Boris Koudriavstev, and Ékatérina Mazo plays Till’s fiancée alongside a native cast that contributes to this ‘fascinating, important and inspiring issue’ (Gramophone).

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