A Superb Reading of Prokofiev in Toulouse


  Prokofiev: Betrothal in a Monastery, Capitole Orchestra and Chorus, Tugan Sokhiev (conductor), Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse, 24.5.2015 (JMI)

Prokofiev: Betrothal in a Monastery



Don Jerome: John Graham Hall
Don Ferdinand: Garry Magee
Louisa: Anastasia Kalagina
The Duenna: Elena Sommer
Don Antonio: Daniil Shtoda
Donna Clara: Anna Kiknadze
Mendoza: Mikhail Kolelishvili
Don Carlos: Vladimir Kapshuk
Father Augustin: Alexander Teliga
Father Eustaphe: Vasily Efimov
Father Chartreuse: Marek Kalbus
Father Benedictine: Thomas Dear
Lauretta: Chloè Chaume
Rosina: Catherine Alcoverro


Production: Théâtre du Capitole and Opéra Comique
Direction: Martin Duncan
Sets and Costumes: Alison Chitty
Lighting: Paul Pyant

This Prokofiev opera has returned to the Capitole some four years after it was last performed here. The staging was the same, as were many of the cast members, and Tugan Sokhiev was again in the pit. I reviewed this production in January 2011, and much  of what I wrote then still holds true.

Since September 2008, Tugan Sokhiev has been the music director of the Orchestre National du Capitole. His work in recent years has been splendid, and he can be considered one of the most brilliant conductors today, especially in the Russian repertoire. His reading of Betrothal in a Monastery was superb, as it was in 2011. I’ve had the occasion to see this opera under the baton of Valery Gergiev, and I think that Mr. Sokhiev’s conducting was as outstanding as his compatriot’s. The only complaint one can make about Tugan Sokhiev is his choice of vocalists, drawn largely from the singers who appear in his concert versions of Russian operas. Under his baton, the orchestra offered a terrific performance. In fact, this orchestra is one of the best one can hear today in a pit. The chorus was also impressive.

 The best vocal performances came from Mikahil Kolelishvili and mezzo soprano Anna Kiknadze, who were both repeating their roles of four years ago. Mr. Kolelishvili was an amusing Mendoza, with a wide and attractive voice that suited the demands of the character. Mrs. Kiknadze gave life to Clara de Almansa, and with her well-handled voice was fully convincing in the character.

Mezzo soprano Elena Sommer as the Duenna had to deal with the difficult task of overcoming the memory of Larissa Diadkova in the role four years ago. Ms. Sommer was quite good on stage but more modest in vocal terms.

British tenor John Graham Hall was a confident actor on stage in the part of Don Jerome, but somewhat modest vocally. Russian soprano Anastasia Kalagina played the character of Louisa, as she did last time. She is comfortable in the role, although her voice is not too appealing. The young male lovers, Daniil Shtoda (Antonio) and Garry Magee (Fernando), repeated their modest performances of 2011. Vladimir Kapshuk was a serviceable Don Carlos.

With regard to the monks, I should mention the voice of Alexander Teliga as Father Augustine, the Prior of the Convent. Tenor Vasily Efimov doubled as First Mask in Act I and as Father Eustaphe, and he again demonstrated comic skills and a well-projected voice.

José Mª Irurzun




Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Hampstead Garden Opera Bring The Enchanted Pig to Highgate in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • NEW! Svetlana Zakharova and Bolshoi Stars Bring Amore to the London Coliseum in November __________________________________
  • NEW! Tom Green and Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife Premieres on 15 October in Cardiff __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H