|Dmitri Hvorostovsky onstage and backstage for The Demon|
Yes, we have this sexy backstage photo of über-barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky as he readied for his role debut in Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera The Demon this week at the . There is still one more performance on February 5th, but for those who can't jet off to Moscow, here is the video of the entire performance.
In the semi-staged performances Hvorostovsky sings the haunting and seductive title role under the baton of Mikhail Tatarnikov with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia accompanying. Also featured in the cast are soprano Asmik Grigorian, contralto Larisa Kostyuk, countertenor Vadim Volkov, tenor Vasily Efimov, and basses Alexander Tsymbalyuk and Dmitry Skorikov. Dmitry Bertman directs.
The setting of the Demon is somewhere between heaven, hell and earth – just as the demon himself is a fallen angel, an inwardly torn character, a negating power and adversary of the angel at the same time. Unable to love and still be humble, he falls in love with Tamara, who is about to marry Prince Gudal’s son, and kills the bridegroom. The bride escapes to a convent and is visited by the demon, who promises to renounce evil and pictures their future as eternity and boundless power. Tamara, yielding to temptation, is killed when he kisses her. In the struggle for her soul, the angel keeps the upper hand, for "he who loves belongs to paradise". For the demon, nothing has really changed: he carries on living in eternal damnation and loses his hope in the shape of Tamara, with whom he shared his solitude, his longing for love, his thirst for knowledge and the sadness resulting from it all.