Music of the Northern Seas. Thomas and Sally

concert performance in two parts
staged by Igor Bondarenko


Artistic Director of the project: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
Production Director: Igor Bondarenko
Music Director: Natalia Zhuk
Choirmaster: Maria Moiseenko
Stage Movement: Dmitry Romanov
Stage design and costume selection: Igor Bondarenko, Timur Gulyaev
Lighting Designer: Igor Yakushev
Accompanist: Irina Nemova
Science advisors: Anastasia Privalova, Pavel Michkov (The Novosibirsk State Conservatory named after M. Glinka)

2 hours

one intermission

Premiered on April 27, 2023

The program of the event includes two parts:

Part 1 Music of the Northern Seas (concert program)
The chamber ensemble Music for Us and soloists of the Novosibirsk Opera take part in the concert program. The head of the ensemble and the author of the idea is Natalia Zhuk.

On the Small Stage of NOVAT, the listeners will hear theatrical works by Matthew Locke, John Dowland, and Henry Purcell, which have not been performed in Novosibirsk before. The program will be held with the show of Western European painting of the 17th century.

Part 2 PREMIERE. Thomas and Sally, or The Sailor's Return (a dramatic pastoral opera in 2 acts without intermission)

The RUSSIAN PREMIERE of T. A. Arne's dramatic pastoral opera Thomas and Sally, or The Sailor's Return will take place on the stage of NOVAT.

Stage director Igor Bondarenko, together with the chamber ensemble Music for Us, has made a unique gift to the Novosibirsk audience he has presented a Baroque opera, previously staged only in foreign theatres, in a new incarnation, not deviating from traditions, but solved with attention to the modern viewer. The repertoire of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre has been enriched with a real gem, revealing a previously unheard work of the past to a wide audience and immersing in the atmosphere of a truly charming English Baroque.

Thomas and Sally, a dramatic pastoral by T. A. Arne, became one of the first English operas to be hugely popular at the time, and the most frequently performed opera for ten years in London. In the disastrous fire at Covent Garden in 1808, its score was not destroyed and had been revived from time to time in new productions.

The premiere of the opera took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on November 28, 1760 and was a success. The main point of composer Thomas Augustine Arne and librettist Isaac Bickerstaffe was to create a work that would express new ideas in a form accessible to the widest audience. And they did it. Despite its seemingly uncomplicated plot, the story of the love of Thomas the sailor and a simple girl Sally, whose heart and hand are claimed by another young Squire, is a story about high virtue, purity and morality, about feelings that overcome all obstacles. When composing Thomas and Sally, Arne did some musical innovations, for example the orchestration of the comic opera was performed with the inclusion of clarinets in the score, which were usually used only in tragedies and dramas.

When creating the performance on the Novosibirsk stage, together with researchers of Thomas Arne's work, stage director Igor Bondarenko reconstructed the clavier, published around 1780 in London. Specially for the Novosibirsk Theatre, an arrangement was made aimed at the modern viewer, the characters were realized in a new way, and the conductor solved them through the orchestral variety. To convey the classic household style, the theatre's designer Timur Gulyaev recreated a multifaceted platform filled with the lifestyles of England in the 18th century - a ship's deck, a Squire's estate, a tavern and a traditional English park appear on the stage. The relevance of the topics covered, the plot and characters close to the audience more than two hundred years ago, and today have remained a source of virtue and the search for new meanings, thanks to the great influence of the media space on theatrical art.

Act 1. Sailor Thomas embarks on a long sea voyage and says goodbye to his beloved Sally, a milkmaid. The local Squire is infatuated with Sally, but has not pursued her earlier because of Thomas. Now that Thomas is gone, the squire decides to try to woo Sally under the encouragement of housekeeper Dorcas. Sally spurns the Squire. Seeing that he has failed, Dorcas tries to help the Squire by advising Sally to abandon her modesty. Sally, however, remains firm in her devotion to Thomas.

Act 2. The Squire and Dorcas continue to plot together in the attempt to woo Sally. Just as it seems like Sally may succumb to the Squire's persuasions, Thomas returns to rescue her from a fatal mistake. The Squire and Dorcas accept that they have failed.