This has already become a tradition for the Mariinsky to present several of it's last season premiers during the winter in Moscow. This year they've already shown Schedrin's "Enchanted Wanderer"(which I've had tickets for, but unfortunately was prevented from attending) and last night they've shown Smelkov's "Brothers Karamazov". I was hoping to see "King Roger" and/or even "Flying Dutchman", but was very glad that these two new operas came to Moscow.
First, I do have to say that I applaud Gergiev for being brave enough to present to the Russian audience(!!) 20th century and even contemporary operas. In that light, one can only support the production of a completely new piece, as was the case with the "Karamazovs". (I was surprised to realize that this was the first completely new opera produced by Mariinsky in decades, even the Bolshoi has had it's "Rosenthal's children" staged several years ago)
Having said that, I still have to admit that the show was really bad. And in the first line this regards the dreadful score. It was such a mix of all classical opera clichés, 19th century music, and the complete incoherence, and contrary 19th century operas, basically the complete lack of any decent tunes. The same goes for the libretto, which looked like a lame attempt of a high school student to compress and retell the whole novel within a three hour show, without ever trying to bring any insights into the Dostoevsky's masterpiece. Overall the opera in itself turned out to be one of the least interesting pieces of musical theater I've ever heard.
Another, drawback, is the overtly classical staging of the show. It looks more like a work of a pensioner, than a 25 (!!) year old director (Barhatov). The sets looked nice, but after three scene changes, one somehow gets bored.
On the other side, the singing and acting wer absolutely superb. The cast was on such a high level that any theater would dream of it. However, even this combined with wonderful orchestra, chorus and energetic conducting by Gergiev, just couldn't help this mediocre piece of musical theatre get any better.
If you haven't seen it, keep away.