Infinity - The Ice Opera
by Magdalena Osborne and EMJO
Photos © EMJO
It took composer Anna Solovieva and poet Mikhail Krylov four years to create "Infinity". Even before it premiered it received several awards. Committed to work with the best skaters, Olympic gold medalists like Alexei Yagudin and Natalia Bestemianova & Andrei Bukin were approached, along with Igor Bobrin and his "Theatre Of Ice Miniatures". Singers like Larissa Lusta and Olga Sinitsa and the St. Petersburg Broadcasting Company Symphony Orchestra made the musical part an unforgettable experience. Infinity is an opera, it's a musical, it's skating and artistic performances with a wide range of special effects Â– it's a spectacular performance!
The plot of "Infinity" is the ever ongoing battle between good and evil. Solly (Natalia Bestemianova) is called to save the world from the evil empress Eternal Night. Solly leaves her beloved Astr (Andrei Bukin) to seek help from the 4 elements (Water, Earth, Fire and Air), but finds they only compete for the Scepter of Power. Meanwhile the dark forces bring forth Fear (Igor Bobrin), who becomes the ruler over the new territories. Solly is captured and Astr is sent to save her. He does and he also finds the Scepter of Power. All is well and the 4 elements are united and living in harmony. But the dark forces send Fear to destroy life and Fear kills Astr. Solly weeps and declares her love to Astr, and he is brought back to life. The good side and love wins.
Infinity premiered in St. Petersburg on September 30, 2005. Absolute Skating photographer EMJO was there to give us an account of what she experienced.
"My seat was not great, it was towards a corner and too close to the loud speakers, but I had the advantage of being close to the singers! The stage, where they performed, was right in front of me. Above it there was a big screen, which showed interesting graphic designs to emphasize the performance.
The four elements were introduced in their own numbers. And while fire skated, there was fire on the screen and the singer and skater wore similar red clothing Â– all in total harmony!
The first thing that struck me was the singing. The singers have excellent voices and Russian is a beautiful opera language, better than Italian and French! The leading lady's voice reminded me of Sara Brightman, feminine and romantic, and it went perfectly with her skating character. This was true for all the singers, not least the men. One lady had a most impressive voice span, and could hit very high notes as well as low ones. It gave depth to her character Â– fear.
The music was so powerful I got goose bumps. I really enjoyed how opera and modern music were combined, and how it was interpreted by the singers, who all seemed to be opera singers as well as pop singers.
Alexei Yagudin as fire was a sure success. The choreography suited his theme and the music very well, and the red costume created some fancy effects (like when he was spinning in a circle of fire) and emphasized the character fire.
I also liked how the portraying of all the different characters was varied through the choreography, props, costumes and music. Although Alexei's fire was the most catching, I enjoyed all the skaters! The audience was truly given everything; singles, a pair, danceÂ… Natalia Bestemianova was such a good choice for Solly, not only because of her skating skills, but also because of her very expressive face; she lived the part!
All the costumes were superbly made with a lot of imagination, and the effect they added for both singers and skaters was unmatched, especially the head gears the singers wore.
And there was so much to look at all the time! Besides the singers and skaters there were also acrobats in the air, fire jugglers on the ice and even someone skating on stilts!
The connection between the skaters, singers and acrobats was notable, and worked very well. Everyone was so skilled and professional and got well earned attention.
It was a most impressive performance and I left the arena with one of the songs stuck in my head. The entire performance summed up in just one word would be "powerful"!
I only have one complaint: It was all too short; I could easily have watched another hour! So, when will "Infinity", with this wonderful cast, tour Sweden and the rest of the world?"
Read an interview with the singer and composer Anna Solovieva.
Go to the photo album.