Carla Fracci will perform in Moscow this evening in Lilacs, part of an evening dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninov. The concisely named Moscow State Musical Folklore Theatre Russkaya Pesnya (Russian Song), will host Mystery of the Ballet.
Italian pianist Gregorio Nardi enters holding some white lilacs and offers them to Fracci who recites Ekaterina Beketova’s poem The Lilacs, which Rachmaninov famously set to music.
The mystery of the “white lilac lady” has never been solved. After each concert, on every birthday and saint’s day, Rachmaninov would receive white lilacs, with a short congratulatory note always signed with the Russian initials for White Lilacs. The lilacs would miraculously arrive even in the midst of a Russian winter. Her identity remained a secret.
Apart from Nardi, Fracci will be joined by dancers from the Stanislavsky company, and the young Bolshoi dancer Dmitry Ekaterinin. Nikolai Androsov, the choreographer, collaborated with Fracci when she directed the Rome Opera Ballet, remounting The Red Poppy and some pieces commissioned by Diaghilev. He is now the Artistic Director of the Russian Seasons Moscow State Dance Company who will also be onstage. The Rachmaninov Symphony Orchestra and the traditional folk chorus Slaviane will play Rachmaninov’s music, soprano Elena Pyatnitskaya will sing the composer’s setting of the poem Lilacs, which “describes a pristine daybreak as the narrator walks along the dewy meadow to the lilacs where among them she will find her one true happiness”. Actor Igor Lagutin will play Yuri Nagibin, the Russian writer who wrote down the story.