"The Bear": Opera / Photography Exhibition

One picture per month, 18 June 2015

On the occasion of my collaboration with Operaview, I created a new body of work inspired by “The Bear”, an opera in one act by William Walton based on the short play by Anton Chekhov. The photographs explore the personages mentioned in the original play and they will be presented as a photographic exhibition and installation at the Proud Archivist in July. The series of portraits will also form the environment of the new opera production directed by Natalie Katsou.

Within this context, I started a research on people from the Russian community living in London. The Chekhovian names and ideas from late 19th century Russia are transposed and brought to life via the Russian people living in London today through this photographic study. In order to contextualize the concept and infuse it with a timeless quality, I photograph the participants in a studio in front of a simple background; a popular practice for family portraits from the 19th century up until the 90’s. The intense background color elevates people to iconic figures.

What is a typical Russian? Living in a multi-coloured metropolis we are used to tag faces and form impressions based on “stereotypes”. This body of work aims to challenge common perceptions. The extra element I want to explore is the dimensions and the meaning these portraits will acquire as they envelop a live musical performance; this will be completed when the audience comes in. We will be watching these people both as parts of a gallery exhibition and as members of fiction, expanding the levels of interpretation.


Proud Archivist Gallery – Haggerston

2-10 Hertford Road, London, N1 5ET

Exhibition dates: 6 – 12 July 2015

Show dates: 8 – 11 July 2015



6:00 - PRIVATE VIEW for the Exhibition

Free Entry + a glass of wine

rsvp: info@yianniskatsaris.co.uk

7:00 - Get your tickets ready for the Opera ( 7:15 start )

Buy your tickets here


TICKETS: £10, £8 (concessions)



Watch our trailer here


The Bear - Opera and Photography Exhibition

The Story 

After the loss of her late husband, ‘the best of all men’, Helena Popova refuses to leave the house.  In constant mourning, among pictures and ghosts, her world will be turned upside-down by the rude intrusion of the uninvited Grigori Smirnov. This unwelcome guest is desperate to receive the money that is owed to him and he is also determined to conquer much more.

Based on the Chekhov play, this ‘extravaganza in one act’ by William Walton takes place in Popova’s drawing room, displaying the wide and wild range of perceptions about men and women, but also between rich and poor. Stereotypes, misunderstandings, challenges and conventions are dealt in hot blood and boldness. Surprising and surreal moments are caused by the emotional explosions of the high-tempered characters. The haunting past and the uncertain future call for confrontation within the intimate space of a room full of eyes and faces.



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"The Bear": Opera / Photography Exhibition

18 June 2015 ← back to One picture per month

Yiannis Katsaris