Sviyazhsk by Konstantin Vasilyev, Reaper on Red Background, Kasimir Malevich

Sviyazhsk by Konstantin Vasilyev, Reaper on Red Background, Kasimir Malevich

Black Square acknowledges artistic response to that era’s large-scale upheaval while allowing us to sense ongoing relevance. Demutsky evokes, in a contemporary way, some of the rhythmic incision and colorful flair of several well-known Soviet musicians. The libretto cautions against political manipulation, and contains much that is bizarre, leveraging ironic distance while suggesting that stable kinds of meaning are elusive
— Katherine Syer, for Lyric Theatre quarterly newletter, January 2018

Malevolent - Steven Michael Patrick, Nero-Caligula-Yichen Li, Violet - Stephen Condon. Workshop production, UIUC, Urbana Champaign, December 2017. Lighting design  Alena Samoray

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Black Square is an English-language, avant-garde opera, created first and foremost for American audiences: not a museum piece but a new work of theatre, intended to bring something of Kruchenykh and Malevich to life today, simultaneously moving and delighting contemporary audiences.
— Jessica Hinds-Bond, for The Theatre Times, December 2017

Ilya Demutsky, Olga Maslova and Igor Konyukhov, working on the opera in NYC

Black Square, first act (abbreviated) workshop. Lyric Theatre @Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign,  Tryon Festival Theatre, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. December 2017. Stage direction: Olga Maslova, costume design Olga Maslova, lighting design Alena Samoray, sound design Hayat Dominique. Accompanists: Julie Jordan Gunn, Michael Tilley

Workshop production, UIUC, Urbana Champaign, December 2017. Lighting design Alyona Samoyar

Black Square, a new futuristic opera in two acts is a tragicomic love story that mixes intellectual traditions of Russian avant-garde and fast pacing style of an action thriller. Inspired by the 1913 opera Victory over the Sun and Lenin's era science fiction writings, the opera explores reverberations of old prophecies, and universal themes of personal freedom and repression of diversity

Music for the Black Square is written by the Russian composer Ilya Demutsky. At only 34 Ilya is a winner of the Golden Mask, highest Russian theatre honor, for the ballet Hero of our times at Bolshoi, and a European Oscar for the Cannes award winning film The Student. Among his new works are ballets Nureyev for Bolshoi, Moscow, 2017, and Anna Karenina for Joffrey Ballet, Chicago 2018.

Libretto is written by Olga Maslova and Igor Konyukhov, a founder and artistic director of New Opera NYC. Workshop of the first act was presented by the Lyric Theatre at Illinois as a part of the university-wide symposium 10 days that shook the world. Wednesday, December 13th at 7:30 pm, Tryon Festival Theatre.

 Sadie Cheslak and Dean Moore as Jane and John Doe with the puppet of Bi Ba Bo. Lighting design Alena Samoray

Sadie Cheslak and Dean Moore as Jane and John Doe with the puppet of Bi Ba Bo. Lighting design Alena Samoray

 Ryan Johnson as Time Traveler,  Jessica Ragsdale as Legion Woman One, Paige Luttrell as Legion Woman Two. Lighting design Alena Samoray    

Ryan Johnson as Time Traveler,  Jessica Ragsdale as Legion Woman One, Paige Luttrell as Legion Woman Two. Lighting design Alena Samoray   

Jane Doe, act I. Sketch by Olga Maslova

 

 Jane Doe, act II. Costume sketch by Olga Maslova

Jane Doe, act II. Costume sketch by Olga Maslova

Time Traveler, costume sketch by Olga Maslova