The comedy Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers (1790) was the latest of the three operas composed by Mozart in collaboration with the wonderful librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. According to contemporaries, this plot was allegedly prompted by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II himself, who strongly recommended the authors a funny event from real life. Two officers made bets about the loyalty of their beloved. Having decided to test their feelings, they dramatized a hasty departure for the war, and then, disguised and dressed as aliens from the East, began to pay addresses to the brides in the absence of their “real” fiancées. To their utter surprise, they soon succeeded, losing their bet.
The frivolous opera story, the games with morals and the common sense have largely determined the difficult fate of Mozart’s masterpiece. Throughout the 19th century and into the first third of the 20th century, the libretto of Thus Do They All was now and then subjected to amendments. It took a while to realize that the music of Mozart and the libretto of Da Ponte formed a single artistic whole. Mozart’s music elevates the plot to a philosophical understanding of the foundations of human life, drawing this depth precisely in the contrast between the external and internal action of the opera. The subtext of the comedy is very serious and multivalued. Its main topics are the mystery of the mutual attraction between man and woman, love as an irrational element not subject to moral prohibitions, volatility as a natural form of life. The ambiguity of Mozart’s vision of these themes is expressed through the coexistence of different points of view of the heroes, each of which is true in its own way. The frivolous trifle at first glance, the play carries an important message: Don’t play jokes with love.
Da Ponte’s distinguished pencraft has promoted birth of one of the most refined operas, not only in Mozart’s art, but also in the world opera heritage. The beauty and artistic perfection of music is striking even for Mozart’s genius. Each of the six main characters of the opera has to be not just a singer, but an actor, a master not only of vocals, but also of the dramatic dialogues accompanied by harpsichord. The concert performance of the virtuoso masterpiece by Mozart and Da Ponte is not at all inferior to its stage incarnations, giving the soloists the opportunity to demonstrate various aspects of their artistic talent, and allowing the public to directly enjoy the brilliant music and text.
The Atkins program is a project of the Mariinsky Theater that unites the world’s leading teachers, accompanists, tutors and consultants on vocal skills, performing traditions and practices, languages, musical styles, acting technique, interpretation, and theatrical movement. The scholarship holders of the project are nine young singers who have already received public recognition, laureates and holders of special prizes and diplomas of the most prestigious international competitions and festivals. During the season the soloists work with the teachers and pianists of the Mariinsky Theater, as well as with the teachers of the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Opera San Francisco, the Teatro Regio in Torino. The scholarship holders are coached by such tutors as Craig Rutenberg, Christopher Middleton, Dennis Jock, directors Lori Feldman, Peter McClintock and Paula Williams.
Participation in the Program offers exceptional opportunities for artistic and professional development such as studying abroad or practicing Italian in L’universita per stranieri in Siena.
Along with the improvement of the singing skills, the Atkins scholarship holders tour with the troupe of the Mariinsky Theater and take part in various festivals, such as Stars of the White Nights, the Easter Festival, the International Far Eastern Mariinsky Festival, Mariinsky – Vladikavkaz, etc. Also, the Atkins Program participants are involved in more than thirty productions of the Mariinsky Theater, among them: The Idiot, Eugene Onegin, Don Juan, The Nightingale, Traviata, The Love Drink, Benvenuto Cellini, The Tsar’s Bride, Simon Boccanegra, Thus Do They All, The Oprichnik, Othello, Betrothal in a monastery. The soloists have been on several tours in Mexico and Chile, and collaborated with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The artistic director of the project is Valery Gergiev.
The project exists thanks to the generous financial support of Veronika Atkins (USA).
Coach: Craig Rutenberg
Coaches and Repetiteurs: Olga Kondina, Arina Vaganova, Alexander Rubinov
Guest coaches: Christopher Middleton (Great Britain), Dennis Giauque (USA), Valeria Polunina (Russia, USA)
Repetiteurs: Peter McClintock (USA), Laurie Feldman (USA, Italy), Paula Williams (USA)
Teachers of foreign languages: Irina Shcherbakova, Natalia Lomakina, Natalia Rasskazova