In the history of mankind, there are names that for many centuries have been disturbing the best minds, forcing them to reflect on their fate and their role in the fate of the world. Of course, this includes Joan of Arc, a young Orleans Maiden, who sacrificed herself for her homeland. Her feat, immortalized in thousands of works of literature and art, again and again brings us back to the themes of faith and unbelief, a strength of mind and gloom of fanaticism, the defenselessness of a person in front of a crowd. Not surprisingly, the multifaceted image of Joan of Arc drew the great Italian master Giuseppe Verdi, for whom the psychologism of the characters, their complex inner world always became the main ideas.
The opera masterpiece created in the mid-1840s, unfortunately, was lost in the glory of Verdi’s subsequent works, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Aida ... But how was this opera needed at that time, in the middle of the 19th century? when the whole of Italy embraced patriotic feelings! Suffice it to recall the grand premiere of Nabucco, which made the audience chant directly in the auditorium "Viva Italia, Viva Verdi!" Revolutions are passing, passions subside, and the greatest works are forgotten ...
But there comes a new round of history, which gives the next birth of masterpieces. Today, for the first time in Russia, the Rostov Musical Theater presents the great Italian opera “Jeanne D’Arc”. In the production created by our contemporaries, outstanding masters of musical and theatrical art, there is the unique music of young Verdi, in which features of the future genius, large-scale scenery and spectacular costumes, recreating the dark era of the Middle Ages, striking by emotional impact of mass scenes and, finally, bright the strong characters of the main characters, in the fullness of the stage action, reveal the tragedy of the life and death of Joan of Arc.
Vyacheslav Kuschev, artistic director of the theatre, honoured art worker of Russia
The destinies of the world are decided in Heaven in the eternal duel of Good and Evil ... Humanity, since its inception, rushes about in search of truth, becoming an obedient tool in the confrontation of Higher Forces ... And only the elect manage to change the course of history ... Such was Jeanne D'Arc
French village Domremy
The people are preparing to meet the Dauphin Charles, who must take power after the death of King Charles VI. Everyone worries about the fate of Orleans, because France, one after another, is defeated by the British invaders. Karl is immersed in dark thoughts. He tells the audience about his dream in which the Virgin Mary appeared to him. Karl is ready to give up the throne, just to stop the innocent blood of his countrymen. Villagers tell him about a sacred, but a terrible place, where the image of the Virgin is. There, according to them, demons and sorceresses are going to come together, and if they catch a person, then they let him go out alive until he gives his soul to the devil. Karla made the decision and does not tolerate objections: he will go to the forest and will ask the Holy Virgin for the salvation of France.
Forest near Domremy
... It was here that the fate of the heroes of the drama crossed - Giacomo, Jeanne's father, is following her daughter, suspecting her of hereticism and in connection with the devil ... Jeanne prays for the Virgin Mary to help her long-suffering Motherland. The girl asks to give her strength, give a shield and a sword so that she can lead the French troops behind her ... In exhaustion, Jeanne plunges into a strange dream - she is disturbed by the voices of demons and angels ... Kar is approaching the sleeping girl - the future king of France ... Waking up, she recognizes her monarch and promises to return him glory. The angels bestowed on her a shield and a sword but warned that the Virgin should not allow earthly love in her heart, because it would bring her terrible grief ... Jeanne's fiery speeches about saving France give confidence to the broken failed Karl. He entrusts his troops to her, and with them the fate of the motherland ...
English camp near Reims
... After a heavy defeat, the soldiers refuse to go into battle again - he is confident that only the participation of the devil helped the insane girl to drastically change the outcome of the battle. Their warlord, Lord Talbot, in despair. Giacomo suddenly appears. He is ready to help the British and give them the one for which they fail. Let Joan perish at the hands of enemies, but thereby her soul will be saved. Inspired by the British, ready to grab the Virgin and as a heretic burn her at the stake.
Garden at the court in Reims
... Jeanne is confused - her stay in a luxurious palace is tiring, and the jubilation of the people in her honour is painful. She wants to go home like a simple girl. Her dreams are interrupted by Carl. The king confesses her love. The virgin surrenders under his pressure and reciprocates with him ... Suddenly, Jeanne again begins to hear voices. These are angels, reminiscent of their warning, and jubilant demons, ready to break free. Jeanne seems to have lost her mind: she talks to herself, talks about the strange vision of an old man who wants her dead. Karl's retinue enters. Everything is ready for the coronation. At the head of the solemn procession should go Joan - the liberator of France ...
Cathedral Square in Reims
... The people sing a hymn in honour of the victory over the English, glorifying the King, Joan and the Fatherland. Suddenly, Joan's father appears. At that moment, when the king thanks the Virgin and offers to erect a cathedral in her honour, Giacomo says that she made a deal with the devil. To atone for his sins, Joan decides to keep quiet in response to any accusations ... Karl is perplexed. Her father wants to see his daughter at the stake, only this way her soul will receive forgiveness. The crowd curses Joan and demands her execution, only the king hesitates: he loves the girl and believes in her innocence. Giacomo takes the daughter to the English.
British Fortified Camp
... Jeanne, chained, awaits the impending execution at the stake. The girl is deep in thought. Her father enters; he hears Joan offering a prayer to the Virgin Mary for the defence of her homeland. Giacomo realizes what mistake he has made, and in tears asks his daughter for forgiveness. He hands her a sword and helps her escape from the fortress. Jeanne rushes to the battlefield; her father watches her fearlessly rushing to the aid of the French soldiers and rescuing the king in battle. The outcome of the battle is a foregone conclusion. Karl, at the behest of the Virgin, frees Giacomo. Officers bring news from the battlefield: France won, but Jeanne died.
The people of France say goodbye to Joan of Arc. The Lord granted her several moments of life in order to forgive all who hurt her ...
Wonderful light spreads everywhere.
The dying Joan sees the Virgin Mary, who calls her to her ...
... Jeanne feels that her hands are turning into wings: and now she flies, flashing in the sun ...
Saint Joan did not die ... She lives in the soul of every Frenchman ...