Download this event for iCal

Opera Prelude: Paris and the Russian avant-garde

With Dr Natalia Murray

Venue: Caversham Room at Cadogan Hall

With Dr Natalia Murray, Maria Levandovskaya (piano) and Ed Ballard (baritone).

Inspired by the recent exhibition Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection, which attracted over 1.3 million visitors in just four months and took place at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Dr Natalia Murray will explore the fascinating interplay that existed between French and Russian art in the first two decades of the 20th century.

Although modern French art was undoubtedly a touchstone throughout the period, the variety of ways in which so many Russian artists, both men and women, succeeded in fusing it with the extraordinary wealth of their own cultural heritage, resulted in a wonderful flowering which changed the course of modern art. Many Russian avant-garde artists, including Mark Chagall, Petr Konchalovsky, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov had lived and studied in Paris. Others had readily absorbed the works by Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso and Le Fauconnier, brought to Russia by the merchants and collectors Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin; famous for buying art out of artist’s studios and supposedly ‘‘the only man ever to have owned more Picassos than Picasso himself!”

Sergei Shchukin (1854-1936) expended his fortune on French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern Art. Within two decades, he had collected 275 works of art but many of his visitors reacted with bafflement to his purchases. Impressionist works adorned the music room of his mansion in Moscow where Rachmaninov and Shaliapin performed at his soirees. One of the most favourite of Shchukin`s composers was Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872 – 1915) who was influenced in his early life by Chopin and considered to be one of the most innovative and most controversial of early modern composers. His music was almost ignored outside Russia until recent times. We will have the chance to hear one of his pieces played by Maria Levandovskaya, our Director of Russian programming.

Art flowed from Paris to Moscow and artists travelled from Moscow to Paris. Dr Murray will examine the influence of the French modern art on Russian artists who fell under its spell at home or in Paris, where they worked alongside each other in the famous artists’ residence in Montparnasse, ‘La Ruche’, or where they studied at the Académie Julian or at Marie Vassilieff’s Russian Art Academy. To ensure a music-filled morning, Maria will be accompanied by Ed Ballard (baritone) and together they will perform songs in French by Stravinsky, composed after his first visit to Paris, they will also perform other numbers from Debussy and Rachmaninov.

Dr Natalia Murray was born in St Petersburg where she gained BA and MA in Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts before taking the PhD course at the Hermitage Museum (conducting research on the XVII century Dutch paintings and British reproductive mezzotint engravings of XVII-XIX centuries, and their connection with the development of artistic tastes in Britain). In 2015 she has been awarded PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In 2012 she wrote a book The Unsung Hero of the Russian Avant-Garde. The Life and Times of Nikolay Punin (Leiden-Boston: Brill Academic, 2012).

At present she is working as a visiting lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art and as a head of education and public programmes at GRAD (Gallery for Russian Art and Design). She is also curating a major exhibition Revolution. Russian Art. 1917-1932 which will take place at the Royal Academy of Arts in 2017, and editing her next book on post-revolutionary festivals in Petrograd. Natalia is also trustee of the Russian Avant-Garde Research Project – a UK-based charity which shares one of her aspirations to reduce the number of fakes on the Russian art market.

Part of Opera Prelude Lecture Series 2018-19

Opera Prelude: The Puccini Problem

Has everything about Puccini been said/studied/sung already? Musicologist Alexandra Wilson and mezzo-soprano Adriana Festeu discuss Dr Wilson’s critically acclaimed book, _The Puccini Problem:...

Opera Prelude: Masterclass with Yvonne Howard

Hailed as ‘one of the finest singing actresses this country has produced’, Yvonne Howard's reputation in diverse repertoire from Wagner to Handel proclaims her one of the country's finest mezzos....

Opera Prelude: Standing at the Crossroads

Conductor Mark Austin offers an accessible exploration of opera in the 20th century, uncovering its roots in the 19th century as the starting point for a survey of the pathways composers took in...

Opera Prelude: Masterclass with Sir John Tomlinson

We are extremely grateful to Sir John Tomlinson for joining Opera Prelude again at Cadogan Hall and for generously sharing his invaluable professional expertise with our young artists, as he coaches...

Opera Prelude: ‘Red Roses and Red Noses’ – Life in the English Country House 1918-1939

With writer and historian Adrian Tinniswood, Callie Gaston (soprano), TBC (tenor) and Natalie Burch (piano). There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there...

Opera Prelude: ‘Debussy: A Painter in Sound’

In the centenary of Debussy’s death, Stephen Walsh’s compelling new biography 'Debussy: A Painter in Sound', digs deep into Debussy’s musical advances – “the pentatonic scales, the...

Opera Prelude: ‘Life is beautiful’

With Becca Marriott (soprano), and Maria Levandovskaya (piano). Focussing largely on La traviata, which Becca recently adapted for the King’s Head Theatre (nominated for an Olivier Award for...

Opera Prelude: Masterclass with Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams, OBE – arguably one the UK's leading baritones, equally acclaimed in both opera and song is generously leading this morning’s highly sought-after masterclass with Opera...

Opera Prelude: The Rake’s Punishment

With Ricardo Panela (baritone) and Opera Prelude’s young artists, accompanied by Maria Levandovskaya. This lecture will focus on the history of the creation of one of the most famous and beloved...

Opera Prelude: “Glitter and be Gay”

With Rosie Clifford (mezzo) and Opera Prelude’s young artists, accompanied by Natalie Burch. "Glitter and be gay, that's the part I play" – so sings Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's masterpiece...

Concert Duration:
2 hours

Ticket Information *

£30

* All orders are subject to a transaction fee, except if made in person. See Booking Information for details, payment methods and delivery options.

View Seating Plan Further Ticket Info