HKB Chamber orchestra led by conductor Igor Andreev performed a world premiere of Andrei Maksimov’s opera Barabbas. This fully staged production brought together singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists for two nights (14/04/23, 15/04/23) in Biel Volkshaus. Barabbas follows the well-known story of a people’s resistance against Pilate’s invasion of Jerusalem. Yet when Barabbas is due to be sentenced to death, his life is saved by another.

Preparations for the play have been underway since December 2022, when the first musical rehearsals began. At the same time, the concept of the production was born, based on the division of the stage by a black cloth as a symbol of reversible exclusion. Here's what director Mira Alkhovik says about her staging solution:
Opera in two acts, performed by Swiss opera studio
"I thought for a long time about how to render this inner conflict of national enmity in a way that would be understandable to a modern audience. That is how the concept for our production was born.Barabbas is a story that has no reference to nationalities. It is a story about people who are trying to find a place in this world and express themselves in every possible way. But what these people really have in common is a sense of loneliness. They talk about freedom and happiness, but they don't know where to find it.

Yet at the end of the play comes someone who can explain that what matters most is themselves, without masks, prejudices and attitudes. Human life is the greatest value. You just have to see this value in every person you meet on your way."
BARABBAS - Second performance (15.04.23)
Opera in two acts, performed by Swiss opera studio
Chamber music
Ave Maria
The Ave Maria was written especially for performance at the Opera national du Rhin, where Andrei Maksimov was soloist in the 22/23 season.

Contrary to the traditional reading of the prayer, this Ave Maria is a dramatic statement and was written for duo. The composer explains that "In times of war, uncertainty and millions of personal tragedies it is impossible not to pray fervently and as if for the last time."
AVE MARIA - A. Maksimov and L. Oliva
Dedicated to victims of the war in Ukraine
Our Earth
At the very beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, Andrei Maksimov and Mira Alkhovik created a video in support of the people of Ukraine. The video has been distributed by the Opera Studio of the Bern University of the Arts.

This song was written in two days, using Andrei Maksimov's own lyrics. Starting out as a narrative, the song is a resounding outburst of heartfelt emotion and then turns into a political statement. The refrain uses the leitmotif of Jesus from the opera Barabbas.

Andrei Maksimov about the meaning of the Our Earth:
Andrei Maksimov and Mira Alkhovik
"Back then, in WWII, our relatives fought and died to prevent what is happening right now in Ukraine. Every day people die, and these people are irreplaceable.

People who have given their everything to the future in which they believe. In this future, humanity will be wiser, and the seeds of destructiveness will be nipped at the roots.

So did think our ancestors, the victors of that distant war. But the memory that we had to carry through the centuries has, unfortunately, been carried by some people for a very short time.

I believe that there will come a new day of the new victory, a day that we will celebrate together. And may it come as soon as possible"
OUR EARTH - World premiere (APRIL 2022)
Andrei Maksimov and Mira Alkhovik
Written to poem February by Pasternak (1890-1960), which perfectly capture the atmosphere of February 2022, the art song is a nervous and painful statement on the premonition of tragedy and a general sense of despair.

The song was one of the participants in the VOICES project in Bern Univesity of the Arts - statements on the war in Ukraine.

Performed by Mira Alkhovik and Alla Belova in Spring 2022.
February, Maksimov-Pasternak. Perf. by Mira Alkhovik and Alla Belova
Spring 2022
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