Anton Pawlowitsch Tschechow
The Salzburg State Theatre presents Chekhov’s bittersweet comedy on stage for the first time since Peter Stein’s legendary production. The masterful play is impressive for its light atmosphere and the keen perceptiveness with which it carves out the contrast between a nostalgic longing for the “good old times” and an openness for the necessary innovations of times ahead. After having spent several years in France, Lyubov Andreievna Ranevskaya returns to her Russian estate, which is surrounded by a huge cherry orchard.
Heavily in debt, she will need to sell her property. Painfully aware of the looming loss of this overwhelmingly beautiful place, which is filled with so many memories, she and her family spend one last summer in the cherry orchard – which will eventually be cut down to make way for holiday homes. Chekhov, who calls his play a comedy, holds up a mirror to the morbid world of the Russian aristocracy while alluding to coming changes in society. In an atmosphere oscillating between nostalgia and expectations, the author paints a portrait of an era in which individual and social developments are closely entwined. The play’s appeal lies in the characters’ inner conflicts and contradictions: The poet outlines the highly individual features of his broken figures in a sensitive yet ironic style.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904) grew up in humble circumstances and studied medicine in Moscow on a scholarship. He worked as a practitioner only briefly – the success of his theatre plays and short stories soon made him financially independent. His tuberculosis forced him to spend more and more time in a southern climate, which is why he moved to Crimea and took on arduous journeys for the sake of his theatrical work in Moscow. Alexandra Liedtke has directed many music theatre and drama productions for the Salzburg State Theatre as well as for the Theater in der Josefstadt, the Theater Kiel and the Vienna State Opera. Together with stage designer Philip Rubner, she presented “Buddenbrooks” as the first premiere after the Salzburg State Theatre’s reopening in the autumn of 2022. Philip Rubner is currently head of stage design at the German National Theatre in Weimar.