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“Juno and Avos” is one of the most famous Soviet rock operas by composer Alexei Rybnikov based on poetry by poet Andrei Voznesensky. The premiere took place on July 9, 1981 on the stage of the Moscow Lenin Komsomol Theater (director Mark Zakharov, staging dances by Vladimir Vasiliev, artist Oleg Sheintsis), whose repertoire is still included in the play. Since December 31, 1985, it has also been performed by the St. Petersburg Rock Opera Theater. Also included in the repertoire of the Irkutsk Regional Musical Theater named after N. M. Zagursky, Krasnoyarsk Musical Theater and Rostov Musical Theater, Altai Regional Theater of Musical Comedy.
The name of the play uses the names of two sailing ships, “Juno” and “Avos”, on which the expedition of Nikolai Rezanov made his voyage.
In 1978, composer Alexei Rybnikov showed director Mark Zakharov his musical improvisations on themes of Orthodox chants. Zakharov liked the music, and at the same time the idea arose to create on its basis a musical performance on the plot of “Words about Igor’s Regiment”. He made this proposal to the poet Andrei Voznesensky (this was their first meeting), but he did not support this idea:
Then I was an arrogant young poet, it seemed to me incomprehensible why it was necessary to write something Slavophil from the “Word on Igor’s Regiment”, while its author is unknown and it is not even known whether or not the author of the “Word” was. I say: “I have my own poem, it’s called“ Avos! ”About the love of the forty-two-year-old Count Rezanov for the sixteen-year-old Conchita, let’s make an opera based on this poem.” Mark was a little confused and said: “Let me read.” The next day, he told me that he agreed and that we would do an opera, and the choice of composer would be his, Mark. He chose Alexei Rybnikov. It was a happy choice.
The libretto was really based on the poem Avos (1970), although for the theatrical production it was naturally necessary to add many arias and scenes. The authors replaced the word “rock opera” with “modern opera”, since rock music at that time was subject to strict control by the authorities. The dance numbers were staged by choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev, who also initially felt that the upcoming production had no analogues on the Soviet stage.