The Belarus Free Theatre Presents the World Premiere of ‘King Stakh’s Wild Hunt’

By Afton Wooten
(Photo credit: TsvitPaporoty Production)

The Belarus Free Theatre brings together actors, opera singers, and musicians from Belarus and Ukraine to present the world premiere of ‘King Stakh’s Wild Hunt” on Sept. 14-16 at the Barbican Theatre.

Composer Olga Podgaiskaya’s score is based on Uladzimir Karatkievich’s novel by the same name.”King Stakh’s Wild Hunt” is one of the most popular novels by the Belarusian writer. The story is inspired by Eastern European folklore and follows the ghostly hunt to free a young heiress from an evil curse.

The co-founders and Artistic Directors of Belarus Free Theatre, Nicolai Khalezin and Natalia Kaliada will direct. Ukrainian baritone Andrei Bondarenko and Ukrainian soprano Tamara Kalinkina will take on the lead roles. They are joined by the Belarus and Ukrainian Five-Storey Ensemble and Belarus Free Theatre’s permanent ensemble, who all have been exiled from their homeland and now live in Poland and the UK. Vitali Alekseenok conducts.

Excerpts from the audiobook recorded by Natalia Kaliada’s father, the late Andrėĭ Kali︠a︡da are featured as narration. The opera will run just over two hours and will be sung in Belarusian with English subtitles. There is an adult advisory in place for mature content.

Director, Nicolai Khalezin, said in a press release, “King Stakh’s Wild Hunt is a piercing story that combines mysticism and reality, love and hatred, nobility and cowardice, history and modernity. We wanted to give this amazing story a new tone by combining opera singers with stage actors, classical musicians with new theatrical technologies. Another one of our intentions was to unite some of the talented artists who cannot perform in their homeland today. Uladzimir Karatkievich managed to find his way to the reader even under the communist Soviet regime, weaving truth and relevance into the lines of his novels. History puts everything in its place, and this is exactly what we hope to achieve in King Stakh’s Wild Hunt.”