Pioneering experience of co-production of one of the largest theatrical festivals of the world – Holland Festival and the Russian theater. The festival was an initiator and a customer of the project, which is dedicated to the centenary of the revolution of 1917 and is based on two texts: an essay by Leon Trotsky about Lenin and fragments of “Seneca” play about a Roman emperor Nero.

On June 15, 2017, the world premiere of the play “Octavia. Trepanation ” by Boris Yukhananov and Dmitry Kurlyandskiy in the main program of the Holland Festival took place.

The following performances were held from 5 to 8 October 2017 in Italian city of Vicenza on the stage of the Andrea Palladio Theater Teatro Olimpico.

Installed on the stage, a giant head of Lenin, opening during “trepanation”, a terracotta army of soldiers, skeletons of centaurs and the chariot of Nero, turning into a bath in which Seneca committed suicide, become objects of performance along with soloists.

The music, written for the performance by Dmitry Kurlyandsky, is fragments of socialist hymns and Lenin’s speeches stretched over time. The author of scenography for the play was the artist Stepan Lukyanov. The costumes were created by the chief artist of the Electrotheater Stanislavsky, the owner of the Golden Mask award Anastasia Nefedova.



“Getting rid of drunkenness with power is an overshot of an hour and a half performance arranged as a tyrant’s brain healing session: at the very beginning of Octavia, the laser line of an invisible trepanator runs along the forehead of the idol. A chorus of headless warriors, divided into two groups, rumbles and almost invisibly, making sounds similar to the moans: each soldier of the terracotta army will be pulled out of the crowd one by one vigorous Red Army men with rifles and lead — helpless, blind — to the places prepared by their history “

Sofya Dymova.

“Behind the great style of the Octavia’s imperial facade, Boris Yukhananov hides a delicate, ephemeral and fragile sound world of Dmitry Kurlyandsky’s score – the intonational appearance of his new opera is not as radical as one could expect from the most uncompromising Russian composer of our days. … In the ever-changing shape of the unstable haze, echoes of vocalists’ voices are mixed with the soundtracks of Lenin’s and Varshavyanka’s performances – the first beats of the revolutionary hymn, slowed down by the composer almost 100 times.

Dmitry Renansky. Vedomosti

“For Yukhananov, a priority of individuality over the system and politics was always fundamental. So it is in “Octavia.” But not in a simplified, naive sense – “a tyrant also knows how to love,” but in a fundamentally given frame of the play, where, in the end, only an individual matters. That is why the finale is so striking when the former faceless army, several dozen people, enters the stage without costumes, each one has a name on a T-shirt, each one looks at us. ”

Boris is absurd. “Liberty” Radio

“The central element of a stage design of Stepan Lukyanov was a huge replica of Vladimir Lenin’s head, which was seven and a half meters high, and its diameter was six meters from the tip of the nose to the back of the head. Only the space inside the head with an open frontal lobe accommodates a chorus of eight singers, while below on the stage is a chorus of 80 performers dressed as two-meter headless terracotta warriors marching back and forth in tight unison ”

John Friedman. The Scenographer

Boris Yukhananov:

A special genre of “opera-surgery”. The name of the operation is trepanation. Trepanation has a cultural image. This is the main metaphor of the performance, within which the action takes place – the surgery.

The essence of the surgery is trepanation of the revolution: we open the frontal part, we find there death, blood, tyranny, we clean out, we plant Buddha there, we close the frontal part. We remove the source of the bloody revolution and seal the idea of war forever.

Dmitry Kurlyandsky:

A game of scales takes place in the play. For example, the head becomes very big, and we become small. A short sound becomes a huge length of time, thanks to which we can discern in a big sound that appears from a small, some details that were not noticed and inaudible before. Due to the slowing down of music, the sound is split into separate granules, and in the detected distances between the sound molecules, a new world appears

Boris Yukhananov

Producer. Artistic Director of Electrotheatre

Dmitry Kurlyandsky

Composer. Music Director of Electrotheatre

Stepan Lukyanov

Painter. Chief Designer of Electrotheatre

Anastasia Nefedova

Costume Designer. Chief artist of Electrotheatre