The Russian Society of Friends of the Salzburg Festival is a national community of philanthropists established in 2013 by the president of the Festival to support Russian performers
The Aksenov Family Foundation is a platform that initiates and supports projects aimed at developing culture and intellectual innovations. The Foundation explores the contents and boundaries of the cultural sector and the development of means of assessing the social significance of contemporary culture and art.
There is a well-known anecdote in the opera world about an incident involving the famous Italian singer Caterina Gabrielli, who angered Catherine the Great by requesting a fee of 10,000 roubles for her Russian tour. 'I only pay the marshals that much!', said the outraged Empress. 'Then let the marshals sing for you,' replied the prima donna. Opera today is constantly changing, with more complex direction, minimalist stage dressing, a trend towards authenticity and obligatory choreography. Opera's divas are the only ones not to give up their place onstage in centuries. A prima donna means a big voice, big drama and big emotions – the perfect cure for the depression of self-isolation.
There is no room for patriarchy in modern opera. While the prima donnas are still commanding the scene, the term "primo uomo" seems to have lost all its former vitality. But there was a time when the world of opera revolved around primo uomo Farinelli, Senesino, Nicolini. The Russian Society of Friends of the Salzburg Festival has selected several contemporary productions for the project #Москвастобой (English: "Moscow is with you") featuring top male opera singers: Jonas Kaufmann, Javier Camarena, Philippe Jaroussky, Piotr Beczała, Ildar Abdrazakov, and others.
Does an opera even need a director? Repertory theatres do in fact often 'lose' their directors, which is not surprising when you have been staging the same shows for decades. In many cases, the original authors are no longer alive, and new people are involved in the production every year. It is different from the stagione system, in which theatres produce a play for one season and then cease its production for a while or remove it from their repertoire entirely. In such a system, the director's name often provides a bigger boost to ticket sales than the star soprano. In the selection for the #MoscowWithYou project the names that define the face of modern director's opera — Romeo Castellucci, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Patrice Chéreau, Barrie Kosky, and Peter Sellars.