Soviet Music: At the Opera
THY Tuesdays 1015-1215 fortnightly from 15th Jan
Tutor: Terry Metheringham
We will be exploring the Soviet experience of opera primarily in terms of storyline and musical expression – and relating these to historical context.
The Bolsheviks came to power suspicious of opera as a self-evidently bourgeois art form, but decided to invest heavily as a means of disseminating a socialist message. We will look at how official taste developed from radical modernism to adaptation of nineteenth century classics; how Stalin reacted when his sense of political correctness was challenged in 1936 and 1948; we will explore some intriguing by-ways… such as why Eisenstein was drafted in to stage Wagner in celebration of the non-aggression pact with the Nazis; and we will end with a post-Soviet opera that candidly explores Russia’s relationship with the west.
Along the way we will hear some magnificent music!
Key works to be heard:
15 Jan Prokofiev – Love for Three Oranges Shostakovich – The Nose
29 Jan Mussorgsky – Boris Godunov Shostakovich – Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
12 Feb Prokofiev – Fiery Angel Prokofiev – Semyon Kotko
26 Feb Prokofiev – War and Peace Prokofiev – Story of a Real Man
12 Mar Karetnikov – Till Eulenspiegel Schnittke – Life with an Idiot Shchedrin – The Left Hander