Elena Prokina

Opéra Singer

Elena Prokina

Opéra Singer

Katya Kabanova

Elena Prokina - Katya Kabanova in Trevor Nunn’s production in ROH Covent Garden

Janaček. “ Katya Kabanova” at ROH Covent Garden, 1994

“Katya takes wing and soars to the heights “

'...against this starry background the Katya of soprano Elena Prokina is all the more hypnotic[ ] she made a transcendent debut. Prokina is the Katya of Janachek's dreams, tender, vulnerable, lovable, in some way elusive, her acting as luminous as her singing. Her voice is shiningly pure and steady . When she sings pianissimo, as she often magically does, every note is clear and true. In the final scene, when she is going mad and is trying to remember the 'something else' she wanted to tell Boris, she reduces her voice to a silken thread of tone. Never have I seen so many of my colleagues furtively dabbing their eyes, and no wonder. Me too. It is a performance one will treasure in the memory for a lifetime. Writing days after the event, I can't get the sight and sound of this glorious soprano of my mind.'

Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, March 13, 1994.

]Yet it was in another Janaček opera Katya Kabanova, that Elena Prokina gave on of the most marvellous and moving performances, vocally and dramatically, that I have experienced i n any theater. It is at moments like that one forgets all the inadequacies attending so much opera and soaks oneself in its capacity to lift heart and soul to another plane.[

Telegraph.co.uk - Now it’s time we were let into secrets. December, 1996

Elena Prokina - Katya Kabanova in ROH Covent Garden

В Ковент-Гардене взошла новая звезда

Великолепная новая постановка "Кати Кабановой" режиссера Тревора Нанна дарит нам воистину благословенный дар: ошеломляющий дебют русской сопрано Елены Прокиной.

...Во время поклонов по окончании премьеры Хайтинк и чудесная русская сопрано Елена Прокина, которая произвела неизгладимое впечатление своим дебютом в заглавной роли, выглядели не просто физически изможденными, казалось, что они находились в состоянии легкого транса, как будто они все еще переживали напряженную эмоциональную драму спектакля...

Елена Прокина, которая помимо музыкального образования, прошла настоящую школу драматического искусства и всегда мечтала сыграть роль Катерины в пьесе Островского. Вчера она воплотила свою мечту в опере Яначека. Её актерское образование и опыт помогли ей наполнить свое завораживающее чтение роли редким чувством внутреннего спокойствия и законченной сдержанности. Эти качества сочетаются в певице с яркой внешностью и мягким теплым голосом, способным звонко воспарять к самым страстным лирическим кульминациям, или, наоборот – превращаться в захватывающий дух, бесконечно трогательный звук - почти вздох. Она полностью соответствует тому описанию, которое сам Яначек дал своей героине: она, по его словам, должна быть такой мягкой и нежной, чтобы казалось, будто любое дуновение ветра способно унести её...

Роберт Хендерсон, "Дэйли Телеграф" 7 марта 1994 г.

 

Катя выглядит и звучит прекрасно, как никогда

... Елена Прокина, главная героиня оперы, приехала к нам из Кировского театра. В юности она училась, как драматическая актриса и мечтала сыграть Катю Островского. Теперь она вдохновенно сыграла и спела роль Кати в опере Яначека. Ее мягкий, редкой красоты голос был подан с необыкновенной чистотой и великолепно слышен в зале... Прокина не просто красивая женщина, но и тонкая, светящаяся, честная актриса...

Эндрю Портер, "Обзервер", 13 марта 1994 г.

 

Око бури ...обжигающая Катя Елены Прокиной. Голос и пластика Прокиной наделяют Катю экстазом редкого и необычного качества. Голос, столь волнующий в моменты максимальной отдачи, не менее интенсивен, когда достигает нас на легком дыхании звука. Я никогда не видел актрису, которая бы так входила в роль Кати, как Прокина: когда она говорит "шептал мне в ухо, нежно, как голубка", мы в зале действительно слышим этот голос...

Эдвард Секерсон, "Индепендент", 7 марта 1994 г.

 

Гроза в степи

...Прокина невероятно предана своей героине; в роли, где такое множество фраз, от которых разрывается сердце, произносятся с такой тихой интенсивностью (Яначек писал, что под ярким светом солнца Катя бы просто растаяла) ее пение всегда чудесным образом сконцентрировано, а в редкие минуты необузданной страсти голос трогает нас еще более волнующими красками...

Эндрю Клементс, "Гардиан", 7 марта 1994 г.

 

Страсти с золотой каймой

... Елена Прокина в заглавной роли в новой постановке Тревора Нанна пела и играла роль Кати с такой трогательной убедительностью, что у нас ни на минуту не возникло сомнений в мотивах и побуждениях ее героини. Красивый благородный голос молодой русской сопрано грандиозно справлялся со всеми техническими задачами партии, и мы, безусловно, должны внимательно следить за дальнейшим развитием этого крупного нового таланта.

Александр Во, "Ивнинг Стандард", 7 марта 1994 г.

 

В Ковент-Гарден взошла новая звезда.

...но над всем и всеми возвышалась российская сопрано Елена Прокина, которая исполняла роль главной героини оперы. Всего три года спустя после ее многообещающей Наташи в спектаклях "Войны и мира" Кировского театра/Королевской Оперы, она полностью добилась самовыражения в самой блестяще спетой и умно сыгранной роли Кати, из всех виденных мною за последние 20 лет. Ни в коем случае нельзя пропустить это блестящее, как драгоценный камень отточенное исполнение, а следовательно и постановку "Кати Кабановой" в Ковент-Гардене...

Хью Кэннинг, "Санди Таймс", 13 марта 1994 г.

 

Исполнение роли Кати Елены Прокиной - продуманное, страстное, с изысканными деталями, излучающее теплоту и духовную силу, которые полностью заполнили зал - заявило о появлении чудесного оперного таланта. Даже сейчас, когда я пишу эти строки, очарование и фокусировка ее голоса, особенно когда она пела тихо, как приятное наваждение, не покидают меня и не дают мне покоя...

Малколм Хейз, журнал "Опера Нау", май 1994 г.

 

Героиня достойно выдерживает испытание

... над всем этим парит Катя Елены Прокиной, самый захватывающий дебют в Ковент-Гардене за много лет... Сопрано Прокиной является славянским в самом лучшем смысле этого слова: ее голос твердый, как скала, с тоном отшлифованной стали... Ее мягкое тихое пение, которого так много, полно восхитительной красоты, оформленной во фразы редкого музыкального прозрения. Прежде, чем поступить в Консерваторию, Прокина получила образование драматической актрисы, и это видно на сцене: ее трогательное исполнение роли Кати достигается самыми простыми и в то же время самыми красноречивыми способами. Замечательное оперное исполнение, венец одного из тех вечеров, в которых мы и находим оправдание концепции "интернациональной оперной постановки". Умоляю вас, не пропустите эти спектакли!

Родни Милнз, "Таймс", 7 марта 1994 г.

 

Баснословная красота

...В составе исполнителей по праву выделялась Елена Прокина в роли Кати Кабановой. Эту молодую певицу из Одессы, несомненно, ждет великое будущее. Она выглядит восхитительно и исполняет роль не только с достоинством, но и с множеством тонких оттенков. Ее прощание с несчастным Борисом в последнем акте было таким трогательным, что я с трудом выдержал наплыв эмоций, вызванный этой сценой. Голос Прокиной обладает настоящей ровностью спинто на всей ширине своего диапазона, и звучит так же богато и гладко на нижних регистрах, как и на верхних, а пение пьяно - это чистый пуховый восторг, в отличие от обычного хриплого шепота...

Руперт Кристиансен, журнал "Спектэйтор", 19 марта 1994 г.

 

Катя, словно на крыльях, взлетает на невиданные высоты

...На этом звездном фоне Катя Елены Прокиной становится еще более гипнотической... она сделала превосходный, необыкновенный дебют. Прокина - это Катя, о которой мечтал Яначек: нежная, ранимая, ей легко симпатизируешь, несмотря на некоторую иллюзорность и непонятность ее натуры. Актерское мастерство Прокиной наполнено тем же ясным, почти божественным светом, что и ее вокал. Ее голос блистательно чист и ровен. Когда она поет пианиссимо, что она делает часто и абсолютно волшебно, каждая нота слышна четко и чисто. В сцене финала, когда Катя теряет рассудок и пытается вспомнить "что-то еще", что она хотела сказать Борису, она превращает свой голос в одну-единственную шелковую тональную нить. Я никогда не видел, чтобы столько моих коллег-критиков украдкой вытирали слезы - и это не удивительно. Я тоже, признаюсь, плакал. Это исполнение мы всю жизнь будем бережно, как сокровище, хранить в памяти. А сегодня, спустя несколько дней после спектакля, я всё ещё постоянно, как наваждение, вспоминаю образ и голос этой замечательной певицы. Майкл Кеннеди, "

Санди Телеграф", 13 марта 1994 г.

Guilt-edged passions

'...Elena Prokina, in the title role of Trevor Nunn's trilling new production, sang and acted with such heart-rending conviction as never to allow Katya's motives to come into question. With her beautiful dignified voice rising sublimely to every technical challenge, this young Russian soprano is certainly a major new talent to watch.' Alexander Waugh, The Evening Standard, March 7, 1994.

‘KATYA LOOKS AND SOUNDS HER VERY BEST 'Elena Prokina, the heroine, come to us from the Kirov.Trained initially as an actress, she hoped to play Ostrovsky's Katya. She now gives inspired performance of Janachek's Katya. Her soft singing of uncommon beauty, was purely projected and carried perfectly. Her voice doesn't - on the first night it didn't - rise into radiance, but it did remain steady, unforced and ample. She is a beautiful woman and subtle, shining, honest actress. This summer she sings Tatiana in Glyndebourne'. Andrew Porter, Observer, March 13-th, 1994

A Star rises at Covent Garden

Trevor Nunn's superb new production of katya Kabanova is blessed with stunning Royal Opera debut by Russian soprano Elena Prokina '...During their curtain calls at the end of the opening night's performance Haitink and the wonderful Russian soprano Elena Prokina, who made an indelible Royal Opera debut in the title role, looked not only physically drained but a little dazed, as if still caught up in the tense of emotional drama. [ ] Trained initially as an actress, Elena Prokina dreamed of playing Katya in Ostrovsky's play. Now she has fulfilled that dream in Janachek's opera, her formative experience as an actress bringing to her mesmeric performance a rare inner composure and self-containment. These qualities are allied to striking appearance and a supple, warmly toned voice that is capable of rising vibrantly to the most impassioned lyrical climaxes or slimming itself down to a breathtaking, infinitely moving wisp of sound. She confirms completely to another of Janachek's descriptions of his heroine as so soft and gentle that she could almost be blown away by the merest puff of wind...' Robert Henderson,

The Daily Telegraph, March 7, 1994

Elena Prokina's portrayal of Katya - thoughtful, passionate, exquisitely detailed, and emanating a warmth, and presence that filled the auditorium - proclaimed a quite wonderful operatic talent. The loveliness and focus of her voice when singing softly, in particular, haunt the ear as I write...' Malcolm Hayes, The Opera Now magazine, May 1994.

 Towering above all, however, was the Russian soprano Elena Prokina in the tittle role. Only three years after her promising Natasha in the Kirov Opera War and Peace, she has reached fulfillment with the most radiantly sung and intelligently played Katya I have seen more than 20 years. For this jewel of the performance this new Royal Opera is not to be missed, but its settings represent Covent Garden at its peak...' Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, March 13, 1994

Fabulously beautiful ' ...The cast was rightly dominated by Elena Prokina in the title role. The young soprano from Odessa must have a grand future before her. She looks gorgeous and acts not only with dignity but with subtlety too - her farewell to the wretched Boris in the last act was so moving that i could hardly bear to watch it. Her voice boasts a genuine spinto evenness throughout its range, as rich and smooth at the bottom as it is at the top, and her piano singing was pure feathery delight rather than the usual hoarse whisper...' Ruppert Christiansen, The Spectator, March 19, 1994

I'Eye of the storm '...Elena Prokina's searing Katya. Through her voice and body language, she communicates a rare quality of rapture. The voice, trilling at full tilt, is no less intense when working on a breath of sound. And she 'internalizes' the role like no one I've ever seen: when she speaks of ' the murmuring in her ear, gently as a dove,' you really do hear the voice...' Edward Seckerson, the independent, March 7, 1994m

Keith Olsen - Boris and Elena Prokiina - Katya “Katya Kabanova” at ROH Covent Garden, 1994

IKatya takes wing and soars to the heights '...against this starry background the Katya of soprano Elena Prokina is all the more hypnotic[ ] she made a transcendent debut. Prokina is the Katya of Janachek's dreams, tender, vulnerable, lovable, in some way elusive, her acting as luminous as her singing. Her voice is shiningly pure and steady . When she sings pianissimo, as she often magically does, every note is clear and true. In the final scene, when she is going mad and is trying to remember the 'something else' she wanted to tell Boris, she reduces her voice to a silken thread of tone. Never have I seen so many of my colleagues furtively dabbing their eyes, and no wonder. Me too. It is a performance one will treasure in the memory for a lifetime. Writing days after the event, I can't get the sight and sound of this glorious soprano of my mind.' Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, March 13, 1994.

A Star rises at Covent Garden Trevor Nunn's superb new production of katya Kabanova is blessed with stunning Royal Opera debut by Russian soprano Elena Prokina '...During their curtain calls at the end of the opening night's performance Haitink and the wonderful Russian soprano Elena Prokina, who made an indelible Royal Opera debut in the title role, looked not only physically drained but a little dazed, as if still caught up in the tense of emotional drama. [ ] Trained initially as an actress, Elena Prokina dreamed of playing Katya in Ostrovsky's play. Now she has fulfilled that dream in Janachek's opera, her formative experience as an actress bringing to her mesmeric performance a rare inner composure and self-containment. These qualities are allied to striking appearance and a supple, warmly toned voice that is capable of rising vibrantly to the most impassioned lyrical climaxes or slimming itself down to a breathtaking, infinitely moving wisp of sound. She confirms completely to another of Janachek's descriptions of his heroine as so soft and gentle that she could almost be blown away by the merest puff of wind...' Robert Henderson, The Daily Telegraph, March 7, 1994

A heroine rises to the occasion '...Towering over all is Elena Prokina's Katya, the most trilling Covent garden debut [ ] Prokina's soprano is Slavonic in the very best sense: steady as a rock, with tone of burnished steel. Her soft singing of which there is much, is of ravishing beauty, phrased with rare musical insight. She originally trained as a straight actress, and it shows: her touching impersonation is achieved through the simplest, most eloquent of means. A great operatic performance, crowning one of those evenings that justifies the whole concept of 'international opera'. For haven's sake, don't miss it.' Rodney Milnes, The Times, march 7, 1994

Sir Trevor Nann and Elena Prokina at ROH Covent Garden, 1994

THEATRE / Riding the Storm

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre--riding-the-storm-1426700.html

NICK KIMBERLEY THURSDAY 03 MARCH 1994 'I'm not a musician, I don't read music very comfortably, and I certainly can't read an orchestral score.' Neither does the man who said this speak Czech, the language of Janacek's opera Katya Kabanova, or Russian, the language of his leading lady. On this evidence Trevor Nunn, the eminent theatre director, would seem eminently unqualified to direct the new Covent Garden production. Not so, discovers Nick Kimberley.When Trevor Nunn was artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, his wish-list of works he wanted the company to perform included The Storm by the 19th-century Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. For one reason or another he didn't get his wish, although the company has since staged the play. Now Nunn finds himself staging the first Royal Opera House production of Katya Kabanova, the opera which Leos Janacek derived from Ostrovsky's play. Although Nunn's Glyndebourne production of Porgy and Bess was seen at Covent Garden in 1992, Katya is the first staging he has created for the house. As Nunn recalls: 'The house, in particular Bernard Haitink, asked me to come in and talk about doing something. When I suggested Katya. Bernard fastened on to that of all the options, so I went away and re-read Ostrovsky's play a couple of times, and read the opera's libretto many times. The play is extraordinary, and I was fascinated by the extent to which Janacek does set the play. Of course there are changes of emphasis, divergences, but they are not great.' It's no surprise that Nunn should be drawn to a work with such a clear antecedent in the spoken theatre. Katya will be the fifth opera Nunn has directed, after Porgy and Bess, Britten's Peter Grimes, and Mozart's Idomeneo and Cos fan tutte. He is selective when it comes to opera: 'I don't feel particularly qualified. I'm not a musician, I don't read music very comfortably, and I certainly can't read an orchestral score. It's quite important for there to be particular dramatic ingredients that require something of my training in classical theatre and in the various European theatrical traditions. There are a lot of wonderful pieces that I love to go and see, but while I'm watching, I know that I really don't have anything to offer.' Nunn is aware of the risks of trying to impose theatrical traditions that may be inimical to opera: 'A lot of the operas which I wouldn't attempt are unappealing because they have an inertness, no possibility of fluid action or of responding to the structure in an alive way. The operas I have done - Porgy is a good case in point - are completely accessible to someone like me. Porgy concerns a community which must be delineated precisely, one needs to focus and hold in balance a set of conflictlng stories. That very much relates to the work I did in Shakespeare at Stratford and in adapting 19th-century novels of one kind or another. In the case of Peter Grimes, I was born in Suffolk, I know that coastline, I met Britten because of a Suffolk connection. I did feel in some way authoritative about the piece and the community it portrays, about a kind of puritanism, the public and private stances which Britten was writing about, and about its evocation of place, climate and, most of all, the sea.' Is there a pattern emerging here? The sea, and a storm, are pivotal in both Grimes and Idomeneo while, in Katya, Janacek draws strong musical pictures both of the storm that gave Ostrovsky his title and of the Volga that finally sweeps Katya to her death. The link is not entirely whimsical, for these are exactly the strong, elemental forces that opera evokes, energising dramas that might otherwise seem 'inert'. As Nunn says: 'I've wanted things to be expressed more through bold visual statements than through naturalistic social realism. I'm going for truthfulness, recognisable human behaviour, but what I'm trying to respond to is the central metaphor, the storm that begins to lour, gather in ferocity and finally burst, leaving destruction in its wake. That's the shape and structure of it, musically as well as scenically. It's about people at the epicentre of a storm in nature as well as a storm in a particular group, and in Katya's mind. Janacek brings it to that point, just as Ostrovsky does.' Nunn's cast is not the glittery, next-stop-the-recording-studio confection of so many international opera house productions, but a mostly young, utterly committed set of first-rate singer-actors: 'Eva Randova has played Kabanicha (Katya's domineering mother-in-law) before, but a long time ago. Nobody else in the company has sung the opera before. I didn't get any sense of someone saying, 'What I want to do is what I did last time.' It must be nightmarish for people who know a work inside-out to work with a director who doesn't. We have been very confessional with one another. The talk has been a very satisfying dialogue, not me saying, 'What you are to do is this. Now do it.' It's been wonderful to have the singers say things like, 'When I come round that corner, can he stay looking at me just a little bit longer? Can his cue be organised in a different way so that we can have a longer person-to-person contact?' ' For Nunn, it has been particularly exciting to work with Elena Prokina, the young Russian soprano who is making her Covent Garden debut as Katya: 'Elena started her training at the Kirov as part of the theatre school. What she wanted to be was an actress, and one of the plays she studied was The Storm. Her first contact with Katya was as an acting challenge, so she has a great knowledge of the play, and of its meaning to a Russian audience, as well as of the score, and what changes in significance between the opera and the play. At one rehearsal, when Elena wasn't there - it's the scene where people are leaving church - I wanted to remind people that there was a sort of sanctimony, the possibility of hypocrisy, and I thrust prayer-books in their hands. When Elena came to the next rehearsal, she said, 'That's all very well, but we don't have prayer-books in Russia.' So we gave up the prayer-books.' The last new Janacek production at Covent Garden was William Dudley's staging of The Cunning Little Vixen, which the conductor, Simon Rattle, insisted on performing in English (although Bernard Haitink later conducted it in Czech). In the case of Katya, Nunn thinks the original language is essential: 'It's odd for me to disagree with Simon, but there's a first time for everything. There have been times over the past few weeks when, unable to find my place precisely in the score, unable to speak Czech, and unable to speak Russian to Elena Prokina, I've felt that I've had both hands tied behind my back, my feet bound together and I've been blindfolded too. But it's clear to me that the Czech is so vital to Janacek as a basis for his speech-melody. Of course there is an experience in translation, but whatever the cleverness of the translation, I'm not sure how much detail would come through the quite heavy musical forces. Just where Janacek wants syllables to hurry, you're trying to find syllables to fit; you're going to have the verb where he has the noun, the noun where he has the verb. You're going to get into a pickle. 'I do feel strongly, though, that what appears in the surtitles should be sufficiently accurate in detail. I don't like a generalised translation into opera-ese which leads you to believe that what you are watching is not about specific feelings and responses, that the opera doesn't relate to the lives we lead.'

“Elena Prokina’s portrayal of Katya - thoughtful, passionate,  exquisitely detailed, and emanating a warmth and presence that filled the auditorium - proclamed a quite wonderfull operatic talent. The loveliness and focus of her voice when singingsoftly, in particular, haunt the ear a sI write.”

Malcolm Hayes. The Daily Telegraph’s critic. Opera Now. May, 1995.

“ ] At the center of the struggle of wills between the weak and the strong stood Miss Prokina’s Katya. She forged a figure of the greatest pitiableness and fragility, one unable to bear life as it had been dealt to her, yet one who knew that it meant to step outside the boundaries of the society to which she was shackled. But Katy's determination for a moment's happiness at any cost is what maked her, in the end, a heroine.

With Miss Prokina, there was never any doubt of the resolve and heroism involved. Her portrayal was saturated wth both vocal and physical thruth. It is exceedingly rare in opera today to encounter so moving, unforgettable and complete a performance as the one she gifted us on this occasion, and for her gift I am extremely thankfull.[

John Ardoin: All for love. Dallas Opera sets landmark in ' Katya'. 

The Dallas Morning News

January 10, 1998.