Shostakovich’s opera The Nose on stage

This video is called Shostakovich -The Nose Final. Recorded live in 2006. Conductor: Valery Gergiev.

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

Shostakovich’s The Nose finds its way to the opera stage

6 April 2010

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote two operas while he was still in his 20s, and rarely came back to the form during the rest of his life. The Nose, completed in 1928 before he was 22 years old, has just received its New York Metropolitan Opera premiere. Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, written a few years later and first produced in 1934, was presented at the Met 10 years ago.

Both works are based on 19th century Russian literature, the first on the famous Nikolai Gogol short story (1836) and the second on a novel by Nikolai Leskov (1865). These are important sources; the Gogol story a satiric look at bureaucracy, the Leskov novel an examination of the oppression of women and stultifying provincial life in the Russia of that time.

Shostakovich began work on The Nose soon after the stupendous success of his First Symphony, which was written as his graduation piece at the Leningrad Conservatory and first heard in May 1926, before the composer turned 20 years old.

Even by the standards of Mozart and Mendelssohn, Shostakovich’s early symphony is remarkable for the maturity it reveals at such a young age, and it has remained one of his best-known works. It is almost as if the youthful composer decided to use his new fame to seize the opportunity to experiment. The Nose, as well as other compositions from this period, is daring in its combinations of different musical styles and its interest in avant-garde trends. The young Shostakovich was intimately aware of developments in musical circles in Europe. He was influenced by Stravinsky and Alban Berg, among others, and Berg’s recently completed opera Wozzeck was especially influential as he set about opera composition.

The enigma of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony: here.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg, also known as Moishei Vainberg or Vaynberg, is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most neglected composers of the Soviet and post-Soviet years: here.

7 thoughts on “Shostakovich’s opera The Nose on stage

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