Composer Dmitry Kurlyandsky and poet-librettist Dimitris Yalamas have created an opera that departs from the usual meaning of the term. Theodoros Terzopoulos, an expert on the theatre of antiquity, directed and choreographed the opera, and its scenic design was curated by Jannis Kounellis, one of the foremost proponents of the Arte Povera movement.
The story of Nosferatu is not tied to any particular place or time, although it is based on the ancient Greek myth of Persephone’s abduction into the realm of the dead. In this context Nosferatu becomes the analogue of Hades, lord of the Underworld. The three Graeae make Persephone ready for her betrothal to Hades by gradually depriving her of her faculties: vision, hearing, smell, taste as well as pain and memory. The physical world of Nosferatu has been composed from apothecary vials — some holding liquids and others empty — stones, ritual knives and, of course, coffins. The musical and vocal soundscape produced by the musicAeterna ensemble and choir was like nothing they had ever done before. Fedor Lednev, a prominent expert on contemporary music, served as assistant to Teodor Currentzis, the production’s musical director.
The production used the talents of stage and opera artists from Russia and Greece — the legendary Alla Demidova and avant-garde singer Natalia Pshenichnikova together with Terzopoulos’s frequent collaborators Sofia Hill and Tasos Dimas.
Nosferatu is something unique in present-day Russia: a new opera — complete from the music to the final staging — that was commissioned by a theatre.