The second concert of the Philharmonic Theatre series, dedicated to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is scheduled for Thursday, 1 December at 7pm. The well-known correspondence between the composer and his patroness Nadezhda von Meck will be read by actors Vladimir Aleksić and Tamara Krcunović, directed by Nikola Ljuca. Gathered in various chamber ensembles, the BPO musicians will perform selected Tchaikovsky music, led this time by the director, instead of the conductor.
For a period of thirteen years, Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck were each other’s greatest support in all life circumstances. The intriguing relationship between the composer and the wealthy widow is documented in about 500 letters that survived, from more than 1200 exchanged. The long-term friendship existed only in written form, since they never met in person, at Tchaikovsky’s insistence.
Director Nikola Ljuca is especially fascinated by their relationship, which led him to deliberate on the issue of patronage in the contemporary society:
Patronage is like a forgotten word; a concept that is nowadays reduced to tax avoidance. Nadezhda von Meck seems like an eccentric of past times rather than like a powerful female figure that helped Tchaikovsky to resist his depressions and complicated sexuality and to create his greatest works in spite of his issues”, said Nikola Ljuca, director of the film Vlažnost (Humidity) which featured at the 2016 Berlinale Festival and won all Serbian film awards. While engaged in the philharmonic project, Ljuca has investigad whether Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck could have been in a sort of an intellectual marriage, deliberatly unconsummated and unseen: “We turned more than 500 surviving letters into an overview of emotional and intellectual extremes of two notable historic figures.”
The Philharmonic Theatre series combines the arts of theatre and music into a single distinctive performance. The BPO musicians share the stage with actors Vladimir Aleksić and Tamara Krcunović, offering to the listeners, and now also to the viewers, a new perspective on enjoying and understanding the works of great composers. By correlating composers’ correspondence with the people they were close with, on the one hand, and the music they wrote, on the other, the series of theatre concerts will provide new insights into the lives and music of Mahler, Schumann and Stravinsky.