Music: Anton Gladkikh
Libretto: Evgeny Fridman after Astrid Lindgren’s trilogy
Staging: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
Orchestration: Alexander Abramenko
Stage Director, author of the artistic concept: Vyacheslav Starodubtsev
Music Director and Conductor: Evgeny Volynsky
Set Designer: Timur Gulyaev
Costume Designer: Elena Oleinik
Stage movement: Sergey Zakharin
Lighting Designer: Sergey Skornetsky
Video content artist: Vadim Dulenko
Conductor: Eldar Nagiyev
Assistants to Stage Director: Igor Bondarenko, Nikolay Natsybulin
Stage movement assistant: Anna Ryabukhina
Midge - Galina Petkevich, Daria Shuvalova
Midge's Mom - Olga Kolobova, Irina Novikova
Midge's Dad - Alexey Laushkin, Andrey Thriller
Bosse, Midge's brother - Victor Ditenbir, Maxim Golovachev
Bettan, Midge's sister - Sofia Bachaeva, Yulia Yumaeva
Karlsson - Konstantin Zakharov, Evgeny Kozyrev
Freken Bock - Galina Kuznetsova, Svetlana Tokareva
Rulle, a burglar - Konstantin Buinov, Roman Vereshchagin
Fillet, a burglar - Ruslan Balyagov, Andrey Isakov
1 hour 30 minutes
NOVAT presents the world premiere of Karlsson on the Roof opera by Saint Petersburg composer Anton Gladkikh with a libretto by Evgeny Fridman.
“Our production is about a dream. It’s about your childhood, when everything was possible. Every one of us was full of dreams back then, and our dreams could take us far. As kids we discovered thousands of worlds, plowed endless spaces, reached hundreds of other planets. It’s getting harder to keep dreaming with age, but it’s still important to support you’re your inner child and keep your dreams big and free. The conversation between Midge and Karlsson is basically a dialogue between youth and adulthood, an inner dialogue with yourself” – Vyacheslav Starodubtsev, Stage Director.
Karlsson, a charming red-haired trouble-maker, prankster and a very self-confident “man in his prime” is capable of making even the saddest person laugh. He appears in Midge’s life in just the right time, when the boy needs to cheer up and play some pranks! Blow up the steam machine – an easy task. Run from home and fly to a strange rooftop – a piece of cake. Drees up as a ghost to scare local burglars and steal some buns – these are the best activities to perform with your friend Karlsson. Let the family think he’s just a fantasy - they are wrong, you will see!
Karlsson on the Roof was created in 2021 after Astrid Lindgren’s trilogy specially for the Novosibirsk opera and ballet theatre. Musical score was written by Saint Petersburg composer Anton Gladkikh – member of Russian Composers Association, author of numerous orchestral, chamber, vocal works performed by Russian and foreign ensembles in Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine and various towns of Russia. Libretto for this opera was written by Evgeny Fridman, a literary figure, a poet, a playwright, whose librettos were used for musicals and operas staged in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Saratov and Germany. The bright costumes for the opera were designed by Elena Oleynik, and the cozy Stockholm rooftops came to life in Timur Gulyaev’s scenery. Stage Director and author of artistic concept is represented by Vyacheslav Starodubtsev. Music Director and Conductor – Evgeny Volynsky.
In the capital of Sweden, the beautiful city of Stockholm, on the last floor, right under the roof, there lives a wonderful family – Midge, or Svante Svantesson, his mom, his dad and elder siblings Bosse and Bettan.
Bosse is composing a song, while Bettan is listening – she likes her brother’s music. Why don’t they sing it together, especially since this new song is about their amazing city of Stockholm, the sight of which lies beneath them. It’s a good thing they happened to be living on the last floor, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they could fly…
Here comes Midge, looking quite sad. He wants to have a dog, to feel less lonely. His parents refuse to get him a dog, since he’s already behind in his studies, and they think a dog would make things even worse.
Svante is left alone in his room daydreaming, but his ears catch a weird sound. He cannot believe his eyes – a red-haired man with a propeller on his back flies into his room. Svante doesn’t mind doing the honors of the house, and since there’s two of them now, why don’t they play a game. What exactly should they play? Karlsson spots a steam machine. Midge is not sure about that – he’s not allowed to start it without his dad. But how can he resist Karlsson – “world’s best expert in steam machines”. The red-headed mischief starts the engine and it blows up. Karlsson flies away, and Midge’s family rushes into the room at the sound of explosion.
Svante is definitely at fault here, so he is forced to clean the stains off the floor. He tried to explain that it was not him and Karlsson is the one who did it. Parents are confused about this Karlsson person. Midge needs to learn facing his mistakes and quit blaming others. There is no such person as this red-haired plump man with a propeller.
In under few days Midge hears the same familiar engine rattle. This time it feels right to go see Karlsson’s place. He doesn’t mind of course, but now… it’s too delicious of a smell he senses from the kitchen. It comes from the meatballs that Midge’s mom is cooking. Midge is summoned to the dinner table, so he has to leave his friend.
After dinner Svante is full of happiness – finally he will introduce his new friend to his family. They all go to his room, but Karlsson is not there. This cannot be! Everyone leaves and Midge starts looking for his friend. As usual, Karlsson performs a mind-blowing appearance out the blue. For sure, he didn’t abandon Midge, he just needed to take care of unexpected “businesslike business”. He sorted it out and is now ready to show his abode. Well, they are all set to go.
Midge and Karlsson arrive to a most beautiful cozy house, Karlsson’s place. They catch some weird noises near the attic. These are the burglars – Rulle and Fille. They pick up the drying laundry from the ropes and pack it in their bags. What a sight to behold! Karlsson already has a plan for a prank. Without any doubt he slips one of the sheets on and turns into a ghost. Rulle and Fille deafen the surroundings with wild screams of fear – they run for their lives. The neighbors wonder what are those screams, maybe some place is on fire? Karlsson is convinced that the firemen have most likely arrived looking for Midge, since his parents found out he was absent when they had returned from the cinema. Seems like it’s time for him to go back home.
Midge’s parents have their hearts in mouth – Svante’s fantasies of a plump man equipped with a propeller are getting out of hand. Having given it a good thought, they decide to send Midge to his grandma, who lives in the village to get some fresh air. Meanwhile Midge’s reckless friend is back in town. Midge tells Karlsson that he is about to be sent to his grandma’s place in the village, so they won’t be able to see each other till the end of summer. Maybe even longer, since Karlsson is going to visit his own grandma, who bakes amazing buns. Anyway, it’s time for Midge to go to bed – it’s his birthday tomorrow.
The next day starts with excited screams “Happy birthday, Svante! Happy birthday to you, our little boy!”. For his eight birthday Midge receives a cake, a set of kids’ paint, a volume of English tales and even a gun. The merry event is interrupted by Karlsson’s typical unexpected invasion. Everyone is petrified, but the guy is eager to have some cake with tea. Who could expect that on this day Midge’s family will finally meet this red-haired plump man and realize he’s not a fantasy. This might be the best birthday present ever!
Midge’s mom decides to spend some time at the country house to improve her health. During this time the household and the kids are going to be taken care of by Freken Bock. Apparently, she is a wonderful woman, because only a few minutes after her arrival the whole family became as good as gold.
Svante is alone in his room again. Who could have thought that Freken Bock, the “housetormentor”, will lock him there. However, Midge is helped out by Karlsson. He frees Midge from his exile. While the new housekeeper is whining on the phone to her friend Frida about this annoying little boy, Midge and Karlsson steal fresh buns from under her very nose and get back to his room utterly happy. What a treat! However, their feast is interrupted by Freken Bock. She swears there’s a ghost in the apartment! She tells Midge she’s not afraid of it, and moreover, she’d like to meet it and become famous on the TV.
Karlsson has obviously overheard this conversation and now he is longing to pull the best of pranks. There’s no way Midge turns down that offer. Dressed as a ghost, Karlsson flies into the housekeeper’s room. Freken Bock is terrified. She begs Midge to banish it. Svante whips off the sheet and reveals “a handsome, smart, moderately plump man in his prime”.
Meanwhile, Midge mom returns from vacation and the whole family reunites. Freken Bock has done a good job – everyone is alive and well, even Karlsson. However, the red-haired flyer asks to keep his existence in secret – if others find out about him, the place will be flooded with kids, adults, journalists. When Midge grows up, he will tell the world about his fantasies and adventures. Even if Karlsson is a dream, it’s the best one in the world!