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LIFE WITH AN IDIOT. Opera in two acts

Composer: Schnittke, Alfred
Lyricists: Jerofejew, Victor
Opus/Year: (1992)
Genre: Opera
Instrumentation: S, 2 T, 2 Bar, B - SATB-Chor - 2,1,2,2 - 1,1,1,1 - Pk, Schl (4 Spieler: u.a. Flex, Gl, Glsp, Xyl, Vibr, Marimba), Cel/Klav/Cemb/Org, Streicher (5/5/4/4/5)
Premiere performance: 13.04.1992 / Amsterdam / NL / De Nederlandse Opera / Boris Pokrowski (Regie) / Het Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest / Mstislaw Rostropowitsch (Ltg.)

Content:

A Russian author, called I must take in a madman to live with him as punishment for his lack of sympathy. He goes to the mental asylum and chooses the red-haired, apparently docile and understanding Vova. This person doesnt say much: ah is his only, multifariously varied sound. I takes him home where his wife receives Vova with a great deal of scepsis. At first, Vovas behaviour is calm and modest. However, his behaviour changes gradually: he empties the refrigerator, throws food around and is merry. Soon he begins to ravage Is library. I and his wife try desperately to defend themselves against Vova, but nothing helps: he destroys everything, throws I out of the bedroom and rapes the wife. The latter is happy about the change and becomes pregnant, but decides on an abortion. Vova, who had greatly looked forward to the child, reacts extremely violently and finally turns to I, with whom he is soon bound in an intensive sexual relationship. The two men then move into the next room and enjoy their intimacy, sometimes beating up the wife, but otherwise havent much to do with her. Ultimately the wife faces Vova with a decision by saying the words him or me! Vova acts quickly and consequently: he cuts off the wifes head with garden shears and disappears with her body. No one has ever seen him again. This is too much for I: he loses his sanity and, when he is committed to the insane asylum, is received by the guard like an old acquaintance.

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