▶︎ the story

Watch the teaser of the film,

If one knew nothing about the heavy-set, tattoo-covered metalhead hitting the drums before a small crowd in a pub, one would not imagine him playing the leading part of a major classical opera, let alone performing in some of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Yet, in addition to heavy metal percussionist and music composer, Evgeny Nikitin is one the most prominent lyrical singers launched by Russia’s Mariinsky Theatre in the past twenty years, a world-renowned artist who is recognized for the delicacy and sharpness of his opera performances and is acclaimed for his Wagnerian roles, a very rare privilege for a Russian singer.

The rocking baritone

​by Bertrand Normand

THE ROCKING BARITONE will be a feature-length documentary about Evgeny Nikitin, the world-renowned bass-baritone who is also a heavy-metal rock musician. The film will both explore what it means to be an opera singer today and offer an intimate account of the singular personality and journey of this acclaimed Russian artist.

An in-depth portrait of the artist, THE ROCKING BARITONE will follow Evgeny Nikitin in his work and daily life across several opera seasons and will show how, struck by scandal at the height of his artistic career, he strives for achievement and redemption, as he pursues his life’s two passions: opera and heavy metal rock.

After directing BALLERINATCHAIKOVSKY ON THE ROAD and STARS OF THE WHITE NIGHTSBertrand Normand has decided to return to the Mariinsky Theatre and tackle opera in this new film. 

Shot over the course of six years in Russia, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and the United States, THE ROCKING BARITONE will offer a completely fresh glance at the world of opera and bring out the art and personality of one of its most accomplished and complex performers, as has never been done before.

▶︎ The protagonist 

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Evgeny Nikitin hails from Murmansk, in Russia’s extreme north. His earliest passions included composing music, singing and playing both drums and guitar in heavy metal bands, but his vocal gift took him in a different direction. In 1992, he was accepted into the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and was soon combining his studies with his first solo engagements at the famed Mariinsky Theatre, under Valery Gergiev’s direction. It wasn’t long before he was invited to perform at major theatres and festivals throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Nikitin regulalry performs at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Opéra National de Paris, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and many other prestigious venues. His repertoire ranges from Russian classics such as Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina and Borodin’s Prince Igor, to Wagner’s works, including The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin and Parsifal, Strauss’ Salome and Elektra, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi’s Don Carlo, Puccini’s Tosca and many other world famous operas. He has participated in numerous CD and DVD recordings, including a solo recital of Wagner arias for Naïve.

In parallel to his career as an opera singer, Nikitin continues to play the drums and to compose rock music. In 2007 he created a rock band called Archaic Silence for which he has scored and recorded two song albums. 

Nikitin also creates highly-original, computer-generated pictorial works and had his first solo gallery exhibition in 2019.

▶︎ the team

Author/director  Bertrand Normand

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A graduate of Canada’s Vancouver Film School, Bertrand Normand has directed both narrativeshort films and feature documentaries. His most renowned documentary, BALLERINA, a portrait of five Russian ballerinas from the Kirov Ballet, has been released worldwide. A music lover, Normand has also directed TCHAIKOVSKY ON THE ROAD, which follows the work of world-famous conductor Valery Gergiev, and STARS OF THE WHITE NIGHTS, which explores the Mariinsky Theatre’s summer music festival. 

Producer (France)  Laurent Normand

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Before becoming involved in the film industry, Laurent Normand worked as a software developer and business analyst. In 2016, he co-founded Les Films du Jour Prochain with Bertrand Normand and became its managing director. Since then, he has produced several short films and documentaries, including THE PHOTOGRAPHER, which has been screened in over 70 festivals around the world and has received 13 awards. Laurent is currently developing and producing no fewer than six different film projects in France, Taiwan, Ukraine and Russia.

Producer (Russia)  Stanislav Ershov

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Stanislav Ershov is an established film producer in Russia. From 2003 to 2010, he was the CEO of Gorky film Studio in Moscow. The long list of films he has produced include Garik Sukachev’s House of the Sun, Victor Ginzburg’s Generation P, Roman Kachanov’s Aryeh, Svetlana Proskurina’s The Best Time of the Year, Vera Storogeva’s Greek Vacation, and Yulia Bobkova’s The Last Waltz. Since 2006, he has been the chairman of the board of the Kino&Teatr Foundation, which produced Musical Odyssey, a film-concert staged in Saint-Petersburg featuring Dmitry Hvorostovsky and Renee Fleming.

Editor

Alexander Kolganov graduated from Saint-Petersburg’s State University of Film and Television. Since 2011, he has worked as an editor for Neva Film, where he has edited a number of documentaries as well as ballet, opera and concert films, including Musical Odyssey.

This film will be released in 2022