An Attila Vidnyánszky, prominent Hungarian Director, Artistic Director of the National Theater of Hungary, performance produced after Arthur Honegger’s oratorio after the lyrics of Paul Claudel’s (1935, translated into Russian as Joan of Arc at the Stake) shown at the International Alexandrinsky Theater Festival.
The famous Joan of Arc went beyond the academy frames to the territory of the totally vanguard theater of the 21st century. The National Theater of Hungary (Nemzeti Szinhas) was established in 1837 and is considered the oldest drama theater of the country. However, opera performances had also taken place on its stage. Director Attila Vidnyánszky had long ago graduated from the Kyiv Karpenko-Karoi Theater Institute and a stable bond of the musical and dramatic has been always very deeply rooted in both Ukrainian and Hungarian traditions. This is why it is quite logical that Vidnyánszky is recognized not only for his drama, but also opera productions, and even as the Director of the Hungarian Opera Theater.
Joan of Arc at the Stake is a monumental techno-oratorio with expanded instrumentation (more than 70 music racks), drama actors, vocalists, three choirs, a plastic ensemble, virtuoso transformation of the stage modules, suspended constructions and visual structures like a flowing above the stage fire angel, perfectly designed stage light and live fire.
“St. Mikhail himself put this huge and glittering sword into my hands. The name of it is not Hatred, the name of it is Love,” convicted for faggot Joan is saying. In the Attila Vidnyánszky production this fire is piled of books and is meant to symbolize the collapse of the European culture taking place right in front of our eyes.
The Paul Claudel and Arthur Honegger’s composition about beneficence and treason, doubts and abiding in faith, the concepts of holiness and Joan’s overwhelming love to God and her Motherland in the new production has turned into a mega-monumental techno show. At the same time, it could be called a modern mystery, as the French classics wanted it to be. By the way, the idea of a totalitarian theater was very dear to them. Prior to the first premiere of Joan of Arc at a Stake, the composer had explained that this was a musical composition but not an opera but a synthesis of all kinds of theater.