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Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk” at the Antonín Dvorŕk Theatre in Ostrava

Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk“ in a production by Jiri Nekvasil will be premiered in Ostrava at the Antonín Dvoràk Theatre on 8 March 2018. Jakub Klecker will be in charge of the musical direction, with Iordanka Denlova in the role of Katerina Ismailova in this Slovak production.
The world premiere of this opera, composed in 1930, took place in 1934 and had far-reaching consequences for Shostakovich. It initially met with positive reactions in Russia and even gained much attention abroad. However, on 28 January, there appeared a devastating article in the newspaper “Pravda” entitled “Chaos Instead of Music”. In it, one could read: “In this music all traditional rules were intentionally turned on their heads so that absolutely nothing reminds us of classical operatic music or has anything in common with it that could be linked with symphonic sounds – with a simple musical language accessible to all… At times the music bordered on cacophony… everything is coarse, primitive and vulgar…“
The work was placed on the “black list“ and Shostakovich later saw himself forced to prepare a “toned-down” version in order to ensure the work’s survival. It received its new premiere in 1963 after the composer had made a thorough revision of it. Thanks to Mstislav Rostropovich, the original version was brought to the West, and Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk“ is now one of the most frequently performed twentieth-century operas.

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