PREMIERE: P.EÖTVÖS "THREE SISTERS" [MASHA]

“Sitting in the Tea Salon of the Vienna State Opera face to three beauties with long black hair, catch yourself thinking that each of them represents certain type of one of the Anton Chekhov’s sisters: Aida Garifullina as the youngest and the gentlest sister Irina, Margarita Gritskova as passionate sister Masha, and Ilseyar Khayrullova as the eldest sister Olga, who is outwardly calm. Chekhov’s sisters have a great age difference. Whilst the three beauties performing on the stage of the Vienna State Opera, directed by Dominique Meyer, are absolutely of the same age, in other words, they are so young that their age is not a secret – all of them were born in 1987. In the words of the director Yuval Sharon, Chekov had dreamed of such trio. Two of them speak good German. Margarita Gritskova, who was born in Saint Petersburg, learnt language during her work in German National Theatre in Weimar. She gladly remembers those days: there were “lots of work” but along with the work came experience. And this experience helped her in Vienna, where Margarita was at once entrusted with the main roles. Remember just part of Idamante in “Idomeneo, re di Creta”, sang by her at premiere of Kasper Holten, when she was 26.”
Renate Wagner, Online Merker

«..On the stage of the Vienna State Opera, a "Three Sisters" production, after Anton Chekhov’s play, of the contemporary Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös premiered with great success. The main roles were performed by three singers from Russia - the soloists of the Vienna State Opera: Aida Garifullina (Irina), Margarita Gritskova (Masha) and Ilseyar Hayrullova (Olga). "They say that the Viennese audience is very traditional and does not like innovations. Today the audience applauded to the modern opera for 20 minutes. Bravo to the audience!" - said Dominique Meyer, the general director of the Vienna State Opera, at the reception after the performance. (...) According to the director, he played in the "Three Sisters" as a student and knows the play "up and down". Nevertheless, in his work on the production, he relied more on the music of Eötvös than on Chekhov’s play. "I produce the opera, not a play" - Sharon said. However, he said, thanks to the artistic skill of the performers of main roles - Garifullina, Gritskova and Hayrullova – he succeeded to make the performance dramatically intense and close to the Chekhov’s play. "These three actresses suit so perfectly for the main roles - they could perform in Chekhov’s play, not only in the opera. They are great actresses, and they have a great relationship with the material," - says Sharon. The Russian singers do not leave a favor unanswered. "Our director is an American, born in Israel," - said Margarita Gritskova to "RG". - "But he felt the Chekhov so deeply, it was a great joy for all of us, and he inflamed even those who initially were not ready for this kind of music, which is not an easy one. It is close and interesting to us as the Russian people. It is our roots, it is Chekhov. And we are so pleased that this topic, which is very deep, interests not only Russia - it is universal." (...) The premiere was a real benefit performance for the three young singers from Russia, who successfully perform on the Vienna stage these last seasons. The graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Margarita Gritskova, is becoming more and more remarkable star of the Viennese scene. She performs here the roles of Rosina ("The Barber of Seville"), Dorabella ( "Così fan tutte"), Angelina ("Cinderella") and Smetona ( "Anna Bolena"). (...) Dominique Meyer, the General Director of the Vienna Opera, did not hide his joy after the premiere about the fact that the composer agreed to adapt the opera for the three Russian singers of the theater. "I’m so proud of my Russian girls! And I am happy that we have them!", - he said at the celebration of the premiere.»
07.03.2016 Andrei Zolotov, Jr. (Vienna), the Russian newspaper RG.RU

«..The ushers of the Vienna Opera could not remember a twenty-minute applause like this after the performance since a long time. The Hungarian composer (also the conductor), and American director Yuval Sharon, who proposed an ultra modernist interpretation of Chekhov’s psychological drama, won unconditionally. (...) To each of the three selected characters, the set designer Esther Balash assigns a particular symbolic code through the color of an abstract game cabinet: to Irina - anxious and soft color of mahogany, to Andrey - a hopeless gray, to Masha - the sublime and tragic black. (...) The roles of the three sisters in Vienna were performed by Russian singers - Aida Garifullina (Irina), Margarita Gritskova (Masha) and Ilseyar Hayrullova (Olga). The sisters in the interpretation of the Viennese are hermits in the bunker, whose fate is limited by the expectation of a miracle, prayer, running past closed and slamming doors or touching them. All doors are always open for buffoonish Natasha, who repeatedly pushes the nurse from the chair with her sonorous voice and arrogant manners, which literally blast the closed space. Life is lived for nothing. We have heard Chekhov in the language of our terrible new world, from which the air of hope is exhausted. It is impossible to collect the hours, as well as the text. The use of abstraction in the musical and scenic settings gave Eötvös the opportunity to express the essence of Chekhov’s world in a tragically-compressed form. The final scene of the performance is wrapped in a universal sadness. It would seem that at least those two - Masha and Vershinin - become happy, love has fallen into their hands like a raindrop, for a moment, but unable to explain, they have to leave. In the part of Masha - Gritskova sounds again the theme of torture of the soul, tinted in the music by the sound of saw. Something terrible pulls out of the human his veins, and at the last minute the singer reaches the heaven of passion, feeling literally as "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District". In this Vienna performance they opened a poetic power in Chekhov matching the music of Shostakovich and Akhmatova’s poetry, as if in our dramatic times they wanted to emphasize once again how well the classics here know Russia.»
Vladimir Kolyazin, Vienna, Nezavisimaya Gazeta

«..The sisters, performed by the singers of the State Opera, beautiful women, endowed with the voices of appropriate tone that emphasize in a touching manner the melancholy and despair of these heroines. (...) Masha, by Margarita Gritskova, appears as a true femme fatale, who is trying to escape from captivity, but fails, her great mezzo does not lose its richness and expressiveness even at the deepest depths.»
Die Presse, print edition, 08.03.2016

«..Fully dressed in black, Margarita Gritskova appears before the audience as a singing diva of silent movies, without the slightest hint of parody: that is the way one should play a "tragedy".»
Renate Wagner, Online Merker.

«..Another trump of the Vienna State Opera is the appearance in main roles of three extremely attractive Russian singers who have become an ideal choice for the roles they performed - A. Garifullina as young and sad Irina, Margarita Gritskova as passionate and desperate Masha and I. Hayrullova, as Olga who accepted her fate.»
Volksblatt

«..The cast was striking. Three Russian-speaking sisters playing on stage with all the expressiveness of blooming youth. For this opera, in this combination - A. Garifullina with her lyrical soprano with light metallic notes, Margarita Gritskova as Masha with her erotic mezzo-soprano and and I. Hayrullova as Olga - it is a great success.»
Dominik Troger, Online Merker.

«..Russian haunted house, designed in the style of old Hollywood horror movies. It has the fog, the furniture slowly floated in the monotony of time, the maze of doors and dim light of candles, with their wax that ran down the wet walls for centuries, accumulating beneath in small piles evoking sadness. (...) The most famous drama characters of Anton Chekhov are shown as zombies, performing the dance of death in the Addams Family hushed in the province. At least, Masha, the middle sister, looks like a black-haired pale Morticia Addams. In short, all this is quite unusual. (...) In his three sequences, Eötvös, after a prologue in which the sisters are swinging on a swing, turns his gaze to the individual characters, which focuses first on the youngest sister, Irina, (...) then proceeds to weak brother Andrey (magnificent baritone of Gabriel Bermudez) and stops on the brilliant and mobile Margarita Gritskova, who, in her pantsuit, played unfaithful Masha, who is desperate in her new love for a pompous officer Vershinin, played by Clemens Unterreiner. (...) The three sisters are genuine, charming Russian women, playing with delight with the text and easily orienting themselves in this demanding and appealing music. A real first-class Chekhovian trio.»
Die Welt, Manuel Brug.

«..In the third sequence Margarita Gritskova plays the role of Masha. Along with a rich contralto of the singer, in this melodramatic sequence we often hear a spoken recitative as well.»
Wolfgang Haberman, Online Merker.

«..Margarita Gritskova played Masha, showing her expressiveness with all the immense depth of her mezzo-soprano.»
Helmut Christian Mayer, Opernnetz.de

«..Carelessly sitting on a swing, as if returning to the long-gone youth, the three sisters from the same-name Chekhov’s opera, directed by Yuval Sharon with the music of Peter Eötvös, sing the prologue. This is followed by the drama, full of futility and failure. It is divided into three sequences focused on Irina and Masha (the two sisters are great, and are performed by A. Garifullina and Margarita Gritskova), as well as on their brother Andrey. Particularly impressive was the scene involving Masha and married Vershinin, some other scenes were less impressive.»
Falter.at

«..All performers were outstanding. Margarita Gritskova as Masha added to her image passion and deep feeling.»
Harmonie Line, Lenka Nota

«..For Margarita Gritskova (Masha), one success follows another in our theater.»
Lothar Schweitzer

"Behind them, the third sister Masha (Margarita Gritskova), stunningly beautiful, silky black hair, sophisticated, in a kimono-like, exotically-patterned silk gown. On wafts a spirit figure in a fluttering lace night-gown, carrying a candelabra. Did she start the fire; there are murmurs. Other characters pass through on the moving stage. Eötvös’s music is sparky, spooky rhythmic- featuring percussive effects, from huge, diverse drums, and with an emphasis on brass and woodwind. For the uninitiated, it could be the soundtrack for a horror movie: discordant, unsettling. Pėter Eötvös himself conducts a much-reduced Vienna State Opera orchestra in the pit; the larger orchestra play from a balcony backstage."
viennaoperareview.com