The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken (2019)
UCL Culture asking Professor Michael Berkowitz if he'd be interested in bringing The Tsar back was a pretty exciting moment. We were finally able to present it with a full orchestra, professional singers, and give this neglected opera the performance it deserved.
One of my favourite parts of that was doing a new English translation for the show, creating something free of anachronisms and the weird word orders one finds in a lot of translations - while hopefully showing off some of the dry and dark humour of the original in all its communistic glory.
The Tsar is a strange and wonderful show - I'd never expected to have the chance to revisit it. Staging it with Johann Stuckenbruck conducting, Ed Danon in the title role, and Anna Sideris as the False Angele, was a real pleasure, allowing re-examination of things I was dissatisfied with before, or things that looked very different after the events of 2016-2019.
I still had to build the set though. I'm particularly proud of the design and colour scheme for the camera and gun within it.
And the cast, of course.
“Punchy, entertaining staging... leaving everything to his well-drilled performers.”
- Opera Magazine
“Fresh... unlocked the mysteries”
- The Guardian