Among the NOperas! projects to date, “Kitesh” is the most elaborate. As in Halle, all departments in Bremen, which has two NOperas! productions in its repertoire this season, were involved in intensive work. Wisely taking into account that “Kitesh” had been “lying” for a year and a half, Bremen added an additional ten days to the agreed rehearsal time. All the effort, as the premiere shows, has paid off. Kitesh” still consists of three parts. One in the city space (the audience is divided into groups), one in the foyer (everyone goes their own way) and a third in the traditional situation of the peep-box stage. An armed Hun storm in the stalls and wild escapes in the tiers, however, don’t really let you settle down even there. In the opera business, whole generations of singers can be channelled through a successful production. The main task of every assistant director is to show the respective new cast ways and actions that have been developed and rehearsed by others. It is therefore better for a director not to make his work too dependent on the external appearance, personality and individuality of his premiere cast. “Hauen und Stechen” have made a name for themselves with a concept that works exactly the other way round and frees the singer-actor from being a puppet. With the largely new cast in Bremen, a new play with changed figures, characters and emphases has emerged. “Kitesh” in Halle was a spectacle of still roughly hewn building blocks, improvisational lust patched up what was still rather unfinished. Hardly anyone complained that they could hardly follow the plot – the spectacle outweighed that. In Bremen, finer lines were now drawn that made many an interpretative intervention in Rimsky’s opera more comprehensible and wrested a new and perplexing reading from its convoluted reassurance of the afterlife. Rimsky’s Kitesh opera was premiered in 1916, the same year as Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony. It has many enchantingly beautiful passages, but is hardly free of folkloristic kitsch in others. It is daring to simply orchestrate it downwards, when Rimsky’s much-vaunted strength seems to lie above all in the magic of the orchestral colours. In Halle, my opinion was confirmed that this could hardly go well. In Bremen, I heard it differently. Freed from all wafting and embedded in the contemporary sounds of Alexander Chernikov, Rimsky’s melodic inventiveness now comes to the fore. His music seems quotation-like or folklore, but hardly folkloristic any more. The elaboration of the almost uninterrupted double action of stage action and simultaneous enlargement of scenic details through the observation of a live camera has also become more precise. When Kitesh sinks, the sinking trench and the film projected over it now interlock in such a way that ahs and oohs can be heard from the audience. The rush for “Kitesh” was great and so Bremen sold additional tickets for the following performances, despite the crowds that had to be accepted for the first part. A wind machine caused a red flag to wave while the main rehearsal was still in progress. It changed colour in the main dress rehearsal. What worked in Halle in 2020 suddenly doesn’t work anywhere in Europe. There are people who think that one should not play pieces by Russian composers at the moment. On the contrary, playing them now seems more important than before.