Vyacheslav Kuznetsov

Vitaut

ballet in two acts

Age 12+

Dates

Music: Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Vyacheslav Kuznetsov

Libretto: Honoured Art Worker of the Republic of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the USSR Aleksey Dudarev, Honoured Worker of Culture of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Rylatko

Choreography and staging: People's Artist of Belarus Yury Trayan

Musical director: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Vyacheslav Chernukho-Volich

Designer: laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Ernst Heidebrecht

Lighting designer: Sergey Martynov

Conductors: Aleh Lessoun, Ivan Kostyakhin

 

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes with one interval 

Premiere: 5 September 2013

 

12

Synopsis

The army bugles blare,
The sound is carried by the wind,
And their songs, so divine,
Permeate the land.
Yanka Kupala “From the Songs of Battle”


ACT I

Scene I
Forests of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
A festal night. The whole nature glorifies the Wisent (the Bison), the lord of the forests, the patron of the Belarusian land and its people. The magic forest is full of faint tantalizing sounds; everyone tries to enter this realm and to twirl in dance, overwhelmed by the feeling of unity with the World!
The girls’ ethereal round dance twinkles in the distance; Anna is among the dancers. 
Suddenly the hunters appear, headed by the cousins, princes Jogaila and Vitaut. Vitaut’s strength and might capture Anna’s attention at once.
 The most important part of the feast, choosing a Leda, begins: it is Anna. The cousins are fascinated by her ritual dance aimed at attracting a lover.
Jogaila is sure that no one will dare to reject him, and he, the Prince, will choose a girl. Both the cousins are ready to fight for Anna-Leda’s heart. However, it’s not Jogaila who she meant to allure in the dance.  Anna timidly stretches her hands towards Vitaut.
Jogaila is turned down. He can’t put up with it and swears to revenge himself on Vitaut.  The fragile peace is disturbed. An ill fate will befall Vitaut and Anna, but this magic night they are happily in love…

Scene II
The Castle of Trakai
At the castle of the Prince of Trakai Keistut, Vitaut’s father, the ritual of the  viewing of the bride takes place. Keistut, his wife Biruta and their people cordially entertain Vitaut and Anna. The celebration begins, everybody admires the beautiful young couple.
Suddenly the Black Man appears at the feast. He respectfully invites the young prince to the wedding ceremony of Jogaila and Jadwiga, the Queen of Poland.
Vitaut is glad about the opportunity to make up with his cousin, but Anna feels the deception and tries to talk him out of attending the wedding ceremony. But the wise Keistut and Biruta, who feel that destiny is irrevocable, bless Vitaut on the journey to new trials and tribulations. Such are the children of the Wisent: they don’t hide, but gracefully meet the challenge of destiny.
The lovers bid farewell and part.  Everybody’s waiting for something horrible to happen. Suddenly the Black Man opens the doors, and Jogaila with his soldiers breaks into the castle. The people of Keistut are caught unawares and withdraw. At the expense of his life Vitaut’s father tries to save Anna. She disappears, and Keistut falls under the attack of the enemies.
The Black Man takes the collar, the symbol of princely power, off the defeated Keistut and gives it to Jogaila.

ACT II

Scene III

Krakow, the residence of Jogaila
The splendid royal ball on the occasion of the wedding of Jogaila and Jadwiga is attended by all the noble families of Europe. The Princess is full of apprehension: her groom is nowhere to be seen. Vitaut sets her mind at rest and asks her for a dance.
The fanfares blare and announce the arrival of Jogaila. The Grand Prince enters the hall and ceremoniously presents Keistut’s collar to Jadwiga.
Comprehending the disloyalty, Vitaut and Jogaila engage into mortal combat. The fortune is on Vitaut’s side, but he is not destined to win. At the wave of Jogaila’s hand an iron grid falls in front of him.

Scene IV

Kreva Castle, Vitaut’s dungeon
Vitaut is filled with despair, his strength abandons him. In vain he tries to find a way out, and he is almost ready to accept the harsh verdict of destiny. He dreams of recent happiness: his father, meeting him and Anna…his darling, dancing in the forest at night… Keistut’s funeral pyre… the wailing Anna…And suddenly the dream comes true! His Anna stands before him! But is their love really doomed to die in this dungeon?
Anna encourages Vitaut to resist and discloses to him the plan of escape. She disguises herself as Vitaut and stays alone in the dungeon, as Vitaut leaves to return and to bring back victory and freedom.
The Black Man and his people appear in the dungeon: revenge must be taken. Anna slips out of the manly attire, and before the stunned enemies stands the beautiful Leda.
At this moment the associates of Vitaut storm the dungeon. He is ahead of everybody with revenge in his heart, nobody and nothing can stop him. Trying to break out from the spellbound circle of  battle and to save her husband, the Queen Jadwiga snatches the crown off Jogaila’s head and lays it at the feet of the winner. But Vitaut doesn’t need it: it’s not the blood, but Christian mercy from century to century and the deeds of glorious heroes that will consecrate the future of his People…

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