On January 14, 2015 ensemble Barynya's musical director and balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina performed Rodion Shchedrin's opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" at the BAM - Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York - with Mariinsky Theatre from St. Petersburg, Russia. Musical direction of the opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" was done by famous Russian conductor Valery Gergiev who led the Mariinsky Opera in that performance of Rodion Shchedrin’s rarely staged musical treasure, based on the story by Nikolai Leskov. After careful consideration Mariinsky Opera selected Elina Karokhina among many balalaika virtuosos based in the United States of America to play "The Enchanted Wanderer" as part of the Mariinsky Theatre’s two-week residency at BAM. The agency was looking in particular for a conservatory graduated balalaika player who is currently active.
Mariinsky Theatre (Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre), Saint Petersburg. Photo from www.structurae.net website, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag.
The Mariinsky Theater was called Kirovskiy Teatr Opery i Baleta during the time of communist's rule of Soviet Union. This famous historic theater of opera and ballet was opened in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1860 and became the preeminent music theater of late 19th century Russia. Today, the Mariinsky Theater is home to the Mariinsky Ballet, Mariinsky Opera and Mariinsky Orchestra. Since 1988, Valery Gergiev has served as the theater’s general director and conductor.
Valery Abisalovich Gergiev was born May 2, 1953 is a famous Russian conductor and opera company director. He is general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg.
"The Enchanted Wanderer" (2001-2002) was performed at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York right in the beginning of Mariinsky Theater’s 2015 tour in the United States of America. Rodion Shchedrin’s rarely performed opera merges gypsy songs, Russian Orthodox choral music, and traditional Slavic instruments like balalaika and gusli with 20th-century idioms. Based on the short story by Nikolai Leskov, "The Enchanted Wanderer" concerns Ivan, the eponymous wanderer, who embarks on a series of sordid misadventures that lead to his unlikely embrace of monasticism. Valery Gergiev himself conducted this musical treasure, staged amid the reeds of Russia’s mythic past and evoking the fabled lore of Baba Yaga, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov alike. The Enchanted Wanderer, opera for the concert stage for three soloists - mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass, mixed chorus and orchestra. Story by Nikolai Leskov. Libretto by the composer Rodion Shchedrin. Loren Maazel commissioned Rodion Shchedrin to write The Enchanted Wanderer for concert presentation with the New York Philharmonic and gave it its premiere in 2002. The opera was performed in Russia for the first time on July 10, 2007 in Mariinsky Theater’s Concert Hall in St. Petersburg by soloists, choir, and orchestra (conductor Valery Gergiev).
Rodion Shchedrin with his wife, Maya Plisetskaya, in 2009. Photo from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia website
Russian Soviet composer and pianist Rodion Konstantinovich Shchedrin was born December 16, 1932. He is a winner of the Lenin (1984), USSR State Prize (1972) and the State Prize of the Russian Federation (1992), husband of world-known Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Shchedrin’s stage music includes ballets (among them his "Carmen Suite", written for his prima ballerina wife Plisetskaya, and "The Hump-Backed Pony") and operas (including stage versions of "Anna Karenina", "The Seagull" and Gogol’s "Dead Souls"). His orchestral music includes piano concertos, symphonies, and suites from his operas; and vocal music includes works such as Lenin Lives in the Hearts of the People—an oratorio for coloratura soprano and mixed chorus.
Russian novelist, short story writer, playwright, and journalist Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov was praised for his unique writing style and innovative experiments in form, and held in high esteem by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky among others. His major works include "The Tale of Cross-eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea", "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk", "The Enchanted Wanderer", "The Cathedral Clergy".
Balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina in concert with Atlanta Balalaika Society
Elina L'vovna Karokhina was born in Leningrad (now Saint_Petersburg), Russia. She is the daughter of the 2003 Pushkin Prize-winning author L'ev Fyodorovich Karokhin and Galina Savich. Elina began her formal training at the Mussorgsky Music College of St. Petersburg and continued her training at N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, earning a degree as an Orchestra Soloist. In 1994 she became a winner of International Music Competition in Cherepovets. In 1996 she won a First Place in Troyanovsky's Competition for musicians performing of traditional instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia. She continued her training at the Conservatory, which included a brief residency in Germany. After, she returned to her native St. Petersburg and completed her education, earning a Doctor of Musical Art degree in the Balalaika. Following her graduation, she began working as a musician, both as a teacher and as a performer, teaching balalaika. Elina Karokhina served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world: Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Mexico, Malaysia, Russia, and United States of America. When she moved to the United States in 2009 she founded and performed with Boston Russian Music Duo. Currently she is a musical director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya based in New York, USA. In May 2016 Elina Karokhina performed six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City with symphony orchestra, choir and three opera singers.
Elina Karokhina at the Carnegie Hall in New York City, May 2016
Balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina performed six concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 23rd, 24th, and 27th, 2016 as a soloist of "The Orchestra Rocks" production. Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute brought together thousands of New York City students and teachers for annual "Link Up" concerts, featuring the Orchestra of St. Luke's, choir and three opera singers.
Live Music Balalaika Band - Wedding Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve - in Scottsville, Virginia - October 8, 2022
DJ Alisa, bilingual MC-Tamada Mikhail and eight piece live music band provided music and entertainment for mixed Russian-Jewish-American wedding reception in Scottsville, Virginia on Saturday, October 8th, 2022. For their venue newlyweds selected Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve, 5600 Moonlight Dr, Scottsville, VA 24590.