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...

You Might Also Like

Dmitry Shostakovich
  • September 01, 2006

Dmitry Shostakovich

A short biography of the composer whose life was continually challenged by the Powers That Be.
Pushkin's Heir
  • October 01, 1999

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
  • September 01, 2001

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
  • April 01, 1999

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).
The Poet of Laughter
  • April 01, 1999

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.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar (bilingual)

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Dostoyevsky Bilingual

Bilingual series of short, lesser known, but highly significant works that show the traditional view of Dostoyevsky as a dour, intense, philosophical writer to be unnecessarily one-sided. 
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

The Little Humpbacked Horse (bilingual)

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Okudzhava Bilingual

Okudzhava Bilingual

Poems, songs and autobiographical sketches by Bulat Okudzhava, the king of the Russian bards. 
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955