A Russian Revolution in Opera, Created by a Penn Composer

November 14, 2017

Rasputin, an opera composed by Jay Reise, was performed in Moscow last weekend, part of a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

The production also marked the opera’s 10th anniversary in repertory at Moscow’s Helikon Opera Company, directed by Dmitry Bertman. The performances, November 11 and 12, were in the new Stravinsky Hall and conducted by Alexander Briger, founder and chief conductor of the Australian World Orchestra.

Reise, a professor of music, was in Moscow to attend the rehearsals and performances.

“I am greatly honored that Rasputin is being performed in Russia at this time of celebration,” says Reise. “The performances were splendid, and I was very gratified at how warmly they were received. I am extremely pleased at how the production has turned out.”

​​​​​​​Reise wrote both the music and libretto for Rasputin, which was commissioned and premiered by the New York City Opera and the late Beverly Sills in 1988. The opera was given its Russian premiere in Moscow in 2008 by Helikon, in Russian translation.

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