Alexander Titel is an outstanding figure in contemporary Russian theatrical art. Since 1991 he has been the head of the opera troupe of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Academic Musical Theater. With his leadership and direct participation in the theater, more than twenty opera performances were staged, each of which clearly manifests a new modern reading and original interpretation of Alexander Titel.
Biography. Childhood and youth
Alexander Borisovich (Borukhovich) Titel (the stress in the surname is on the second syllable) was born on November 30, 1949 in the Uzbek city of Tashkent, where he spent his childhood and youth. The story of the family of Alexander Titel is incredibly interesting: his parents are from Odessa: his father Boris Titel was a famous violinist, a student of the famous Pyotr Stolyarsky, and his mother worked as a phthisiatrician. Their wedding took place on the day of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War - June 22, 1941.
The Nazis have already bombed Odessa, an urgent evacuation has begun; the Titel family had to leave the city on a steamer, but, fortunately, they were late for its departure - the steamer was destroyed by enemy aircraft while leaving the port. Later, the spouses left Odessa by train, and on the way at some station they crossed with the train in which the Leningrad Conservatory was going to evacuate, and the rector Pavel Serebryakov, who was familiar with Boris Titel, offered to go with them to Tashkent. So the future parents of Alexander Titel ended up in Uzbekistan. Soon Boris Titel gave up his reservation and volunteered for the front, where over time he even organized his own ensemble.
The son Alexander appeared in the Titel family in the post-war years. He studied well, studied violin at a music school, but one day he got tired of it, and he quit music, preferring to play football. In addition, already in his childhood years he was fascinated by the art of theater: at first he simply attended all opera and ballet performances, then he became a member of the mimans - theatrical extras: he wore banners in the opera Boris Godunov, along with other teenagers he smeared himself with paint and portrayed an Ethiopian prisoner in opera "Aida", and in the opera "Carmen" he even was a member of the children's choir. For his work at Mimance, Titel earned money, which, according to him, was enough for ice cream and going to the cinema with the girls.
After the 8th grade, Alexander decided to transfer to a physics and mathematics school - he was very attracted to exact sciences, he repeatedly became the winner of various Olympiads. After graduating from school with honors, he became a student of the energy faculty of the Tashkent Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated in 1972 with a degree in electrical engineering. However, in his student years, Titel was more interested not in studying, but playing in KVN, in STEM and in the theater. Listening to the next opera, the young man felt that the musical performance is often much stronger than the staged part of the performance. And after reading the book by Mikhail Chudnovsky "The Director puts an opera" about the famous chief director of the Bolshoi Theater Boris Pokrovsky, he finally realized what he would like to do in life: opera directing. Throwing everything away, Alexander Titel went to Moscow to enter GITIS.
Creativity and theatrical career
From the first time, Alexander Titel did not enter GITIS and returned to Tashkent, for a whole year he worked in the opera studio of the Tashkent Conservatory as an assistant director, and also led a theater group. The next year, the young man nevertheless got into the directing department of GITIS, on the course of the outstanding director and teacher Lev Dmitrievich Mikhailov.
In 1980 Titel graduated from the theater institute and, on the advice and recommendation of Mikhailov, left for Sverdlovsk, becoming the Chief Director of the Opera and Ballet Theater. Here he worked for 11 years, staging many opera performances and making a truly revolutionary breakthrough in opera direction. The main creative principle of Titel was the simplicity and even a certain symbolic primitiveness of the scenery with the careful elaboration and detailing of the acting, the introduction of elements of modern life into the opera plots created many years ago. In addition to Titel, a young innovative team of creative people gathered at the Sverdlovsk Theater: conductor Yevgeny Brazhnik, artists Ernst Heydebrecht and Yuri Ustinov. Each performance became a bright event in the theatrical life not only of the city, but of the whole country. The first performance that Titel staged in Sverdlovsk was Rossini's The Barber of Seville, followed by Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Shostakovich's Katerina Izmailova and other performances. The theater went on tour to Moscow and other cities of the USSR, in addition, Alexander Titel collaborated with the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow - for example, in 1986 he staged Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Night Before Christmas there.
And in 1991, Alexander Titel was invited to the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Theater and was appointed chief director and artistic director of his opera troupe. This appointment was preceded by a conflict between the chief conductor of the theater Yevgeny Vladimirovich Kolobov and the artists of the opera company. Kolobov left, taking with him some of the soloists, an orchestra and a choir, and created the New Opera Theater. The remaining musicians of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater turned to Titel with a request to head the opera troupe, and the director proudly and gladly agreed. Titel was very fond of this theater, if only because his GITIS mentor L. Mikhailov had worked in it for 20 years.
Much had to be restored practically from scratch - to form a choir, an orchestra, to select soloists. And this was a great merit of Titel, as well as his colleagues and like-minded people - director Vladimir Urin, artist Vladimir Arefiev: three months after the "split" of the theater, performances were already on its stage - first with a phonogram, then accompanied by a newly created orchestra.
At first, Alexander Titel staged operas in the old way, not me of direction and scenery - it was important for him to look closely at the artists, to understand what can be learned from the talent of each of them. And only a year and a half later he staged Glinka's opera Ruslan and Lyudmila. During the years of managing the theater, and this is almost 30 years, Titel has staged 23 performances - golden opera classics: "The Golden Cockerel" and "The Tale of Tsar Saltan" by Rimsky-Korsakov, "La Traviata" by Verdi, "Carmen" by Bizet, the operetta "Flying Mouse "by Johann Strauss," Eugene Onegin "and" The Queen of Spades "by Tchaikovsky," War and Peace "by Prokofiev and many others. Each performance is literally filled with modern creative discoveries and experiments, which generates both admiration and rejection among spectators and theater critics. But in any case, the interest in the performances staged by Alexander Titel is incredibly high. The opera troupe often goes on tour both in Russia and abroad. Over the years, the theater has survived two fires, but has invariably been restored and revived.
Alexander Titel also manages to collaborate with other theaters - he staged performances at the Bolshoi, in the Yekaterinburg theaters, as well as on opera stages abroad (in Turkey, Germany, France). In total, he has staged about 50 operas. His productions were awarded the Golden Mask National Theater Award four times - in 1997, 2007, 2010 and 2016, in the Best Director nomination. In 1991, Titel was awarded the title of Honored Worker of the RSFSR, and in 1999 - People's Artist of Russia. More recently, in April 2019, Alexander Titel was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, IV degree - this is how the state appreciated his "contribution to the development of Russian culture and art."
In addition to working in the theater, Alexander Titel also teaches acting and directing at GITIS (RATI). In collaboration with Igor Yasulovich, a famous actor and director, Titel created a creative workshop at the Faculty of Musical Theater at the university, where talented young people not only study with eminent masters, but also participate in full-fledged opera productions, such as, for example, Le Nozze di Figaro and The Magic Flute by Mozart. These operas are periodically included in the repertoire of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater.
Very little is known about the personal life of Alexander Titel - in an interview, the director willingly talks about his childhood, career and work, but says nothing about the family. He is married, his wife's name is Galina. Moreover, Titel married at the dawn of his theatrical and directing career, and it was Galina who supported her husband's desire to quit physics and become a director. The couple have a son, Yevgeny, who repeated his father's career on the contrary: in childhood he sang well, participated in some of his father's performances, studied at a music school and at the Music School at the Moscow Conservatory, realizing his mother's dream of her son becoming a symphony conductor … But at some point he dropped out of music and entered the Higher School of Economics. Today Evgeny Titel is building a career far from music and theater - he is a marketing manager.