June 28, 2020

The Nose Knows



The Nose Knows
A scene from the opera. The Royal Opera (Youtube)

Dmitry Shostakovich was just 20 when he began writing The Nose, his operatic debut. It took him about a year to turn to a tiny short story by Gogol into a masterpiece. Gogol's story is an absurdist satire, in which a civil servant wakes up one day to find that his nose has left his face and launched its owner on a ludicrous battle against both nose and the authorities, as bureaucratic processes break down in the face of so unusual a problem.

Shostakovich’s opera is a work of exuberant energy, full of musical jokes and grotesque parody. This video shows the tap-dancing noses of The Royal Opera's 2016 production. Enjoy! Heaven nose, it's not every day you can see nostrils with such flare...

Dmitry Shostakovich
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Dmitry Shostakovich

A short biography of the composer whose life was continually challenged by the Powers That Be.
Pushkin's Heir
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Pushkin's Heir

Mikhail Lermontov is often called "Russia's second greatest poet," after Alexander Pushkin. And there is more that the quality of their art in common between the two writers.
The Genius of Shostakovich
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The Genius of Shostakovich

No musician in the 20th century has been more judged for what he wrote--versus what he composed or performed--than Shostakovich. We asked one of the participants in the controversy surrounding the prolific composer's biography to fill us in.
Gogol
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Gogol

Nikolai Vassiliyevich Gogol was born, appropriately for a satirist, on April 1, 1809, in the Poltava Gubernia of Maloros (“Little Russia,” later officially named Ukraine).
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The Poet of Laughter

Russian Life visits with a leading expert on Nikolai Gogol, to consider the writer's legacy and influence.
Nabokov on Gogol
  • April 01, 1999

Nabokov on Gogol

Comparing the two authors, who stand as literary bookends for the 20th century.
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