Ask Ada

The Russian premiere of Yannis Kyriakides’s opera Ask Ada — “a musical theatre for voice, ensemble, and multimedia”.

One of the leading European composers of our times, Yannis Kyriakides’s work combines sound, performance, and visual art. The Russian premiere of his opera Ask Ada is an important event in the GES-2: Music programme, which presents the contemporary musical stage as a space for cross-disciplinary exploration and dialogue between the arts.

Абстрактное черно-белое изображение

The composer also acts as the production’s artistic director—Kyriakides creates a complex system of reflections of the visible and audible, where video, words, acoustic and electronic sounds are counterpointed with one another.

The main character of the opera, Ada Lovelace, was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and the first programmer in history. In the mid-nineteenth century, she would predict the era of artificial intelligence. Ask Ada is not just a biography: the opera’s thirty-six episodes correspond to the number of years Ada lived, as well as to the number of lines in the computer programme that she wrote in 1843. Lovelace’s code lies at the centre of Kyriakides’ work.

Yannis Kyriakides (Limassol, 1969) — composer, multimedia artist, and a professor at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. Kyriakides has lived in the Netherlands since 1992. His music is regularly performed at major festivals and featured in the concert programmes of leading contemporary music ensembles in Europe and in Russia. Kyriakides’s work contemplates musical communication as such, breaking stereotypes of listeners’ and performers’ perception, and studying new connections between words and sound through computer technology. In his concert works and sound installations, Kyriakides uses systems of coding information to convert verbal texts into musical canvases and synthesize imaginary or inner voices.

Yevgenia Safonova (Tomsk, 1982) — director and scenographer. Since 2019, she has been a director at the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre. Important projects in recent years include Disgrace, based on the novel of the same name by J.M. Coetzee (2022), Incidents based on the prose of Thomas Bernhard (2020) and Austerlitz (2020) after the novel by W.G. Sebald at the BDT; Bluebeard’s Castle by Bartok at the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet (2022). Safonova won the Saint Petersburg Youth Theatre “Proryv” prize in the category of “Best Young Director” (2016), the International Stanislavsky prize in the category “Prospective” (2019), the “Golden Mask” National Theatre Prize in the category “Finest work by an artist in a Drama Theatre” (2020).

Konstantin Binkin (St. Petersburg, 1982) — lighting designer. He graduated from the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts in 2014. Important projects in recent years include L.A.D. to the music of Leonid Desyatnikov (Ural Opera Ballet, 2021), Tchaikovsky’s Evgeny Onegin directed by Vladislav Nastavshevs, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle directed by Evgenia Safonova (Perm Theater of Opera and Ballet, 2022), Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee directed by Evgenia Safonova (Bolshoi Drama Theatre, 2022), The Twelve by Boris Tishchenko directed by Alexander Sergeev (Mariinsky Theatre, 2022), Made in Bolshoi by Anatoly Korolyov, directed by Anton Pimonov (Bolshoi Theater, 2022). Binkin has been nominated for the “Golden Mask” National Theatre Prize six times.

Andrei Titov-Vrublevsky (St. Petersburg, 1989) is a sound engineer and curator. He graduated from the Saint Petersburg State University of Film and Television, and did an internship at the Berkley College of Music. He worked on projects at the Mariinsky, Mikhailovsky and Bolshoi Theatres, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, Lenfilm studio, and at the studio of scenography and stage technology “Show Consulting” (2010⁠–⁠2018). Titov-Vrublevsky was the sound engineer of the projects Tuning and Tuning-2, as well as the co-curator of the project Tuning-3 at the GES-2 House of Culture (2022).


Yannis Kyriakides

Ask Ada (2021)

Musical theatre for voice, ensemble and multimedia

Libretto Theodora Delavault

First performance in Russia

Performed by
Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble
Mikhail Dubov piano
Andrey Vinnitsky drums
Luiza Mintsaeva harp
Evgeny Subbotin violin
Alexander Mitinsky viola
Olga Demina cello
Victoria Korshunova director of MCME

Fyodor Lednev

Arina Zvereva

Yevgenia Safonova

Konstantin Binkin

Sound engineer
Sergei Kochetkov

Сonductor’s assistant
Olga Vlasova

Dmitry Renansky

Andrei Titov-Vrublevsky

Ekaterina Arkhipova, Marina Badudina, Yana Romashkina

Technical team
Andrey Belov, Artem Kanifatov, Ksenia Kosaya, Konstantin Petruk

Russian translation of the libretto
Arina Volgina