This week, Peter Rose makes his role debut as Aleksandr Petrovič Gorjančikov in Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at the Bayerische Staatsoper, conducted by Simone Young and directed by Frank Castorf.
Based on Dostoyevsky’s novel (1862) portraying the life of criminals in a Siberian prison camp, Janáček translated and adapted the text to create his final work. First performed in 1920, this ensemble piece allows individual characters to narrate chapters in their lives, with focus on the new arrival to the prison, Aleksandr Petrovič Gorjančikov. The work was first performed in Munich in 1976.
We spoke to Peter to find out how rehearsals were going:
Tell us about the role of Aleksander Petrowitsch Gorjantschikow? How do you portray him?
The way I portray him is reflected by the creativity of the director Frank Castorf and his imaginative ideas. He has two cameras on stage and images of characters are projected onto the stage, as well as seeing the opera from a traditional audience point of view. The piece is based on the Dostoyevsky’s libretto; in the director’s mind I sort of portray this character and in addition to the music, there are quotes from some of his writings displayed; I have dialogue projected in German. Dostoyevsky had a foot fetish, and in the overture, there is an element of that linked in….
Even though the opera is set in Siberia, there are references in this version to Leon Trotsky and the Russian Revolution. Castorf has directed people walking round semi-naked and covered in blood and dirt to show what it may have been like in the camp at the time… it is very interesting and challenging from that point of view!
This is your third production in Munich this season – you obviously have a special relationship with the house. Is there anything in particular that you love about singing there?
I have a very special relationship with the Bayerische Staatsoper. The great thing is that I feel they value my contribution and it is very much a two-way thing; I enjoy coming to Munich and I hope, they enjoy having me there! The feeling of being wanted and being appreciated by the house, is the most significant feeling.
Tonight’s premiere will be broadcast live on BR-Klassik, and the performances on 26 May 2018 will be broadcast live via www.staatsoper.tv
From the House of the Dead runs from 21 May to 8 June 2018. For more information and tickets, see the Bayerische Staatsoper website.