Kirill Serebrennikov: “It is one of the best Russian operas — dynamic, subtly conceived, hard-hitting, paradoxical. It is an excellent combination of marvelous music, intelligent libretto, good text and very intriguing personages. It is a very sincere opera — one realizes immediately that it is a last work. For Rimsky-Korsakov it is a very important personal statement. I think it would be wrong to categorize it exclusively as a pamphlet. Such a major artist and philosopher would have been unable to limit himself to a topical response to the contemporary situation in Russia. The philosophical basis is very important in all his work. Rimsky-Korsakov is a conceptualist; he needs a program, a theory. And I am therefore sure that The Golden Cockerel is not simply a political and publicistic declaration, it is a serious philosophical statement.
Above all we have got rid of all the conventionally grotesque ethnic-’bilibinesque’ matter. In our production popular woodcut scenes are out. In this respect we will disappoint those people who expect from The Golden Cockerel a folklore ’patchwork’ of skomorokhi (wandering minstrels cum clowns — tr.n.), long beards, exaggerated Russian style... There won’t be any of this in our production. We abandon a very conventional, stylized and very theatrical world for quintessentially genuine — ’just like in the movies’ - reality.
In this opera there is a pamphlet, there is satire, but it is other things, which occupy my attention. I am more interested in Dodon’s inner world, the story of this Tsar’s last love. I think it is very intriguing. It is all about power and people in power. It is about how power impacts a man and what happens to him when he comes face to face with a miracle. It is the interrelationships between the two main personages, which form the core of our production. It won’t be quite fairytale. It will be a different story... and more human than socio-political”.
Vassily Sinaysky, Bolshoi Theatre music director and conductor in chief, conductor of the production: "For me, above all else, this is a work, which provided a very strong stimulus to other composers — Rimsky-Korsakov’s young contemporaries. In imaging the reception it got from his students, the very young Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and others, studying at the time at the Petersburg Conservatoire, I try above all to emphasize what they liked about it. Stravinsky, for instance, took a lot of things of a technical nature from Rimsky-Korsakov and, above all, from The Cockerel: use of harp, strings, and also the intonational sphere. All this and a lot more unite The Golden Cockerel and Petrushka.
On the other hand, I believe The Golden Cockerel is quite different to Rimsky-Korsakov’s usual style, to his more ‘usual’ works. In view of my love for and knowledge of Scheherazade, Sadko, The Tale of Tsar Saltan and The Tsar’s Bride, all of which I love conducting, I am astonished here at the degree he has departed into quite other spheres. And first and foremost I consider it important to highlight the innovations he introduced into this opera in respect of musical language, usage and modification systems of leitmotifs, harmony, and even steps towards atonality (!).