November 12: Opera in Russia
Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953) composed more than ten operas, not all of them completed.
Ljubowk k trjom Apelsinam [The Love of Three Oranges] (Chicago, 1921), with libretto by the composer, after Gozzi.
War and Peace (composed 1941-1952) was begun after Prokofiev's return to the Soviet Union. The work was first premiered in an incomplete concert version (eight scenes of first version), on October 16, 1944, by the Ensemble of Soviet Opera of the All-Union Theatrical Society, conducted by Konstantin Popov with piano accompaniment. After a second incomplete concert performance (with nine scenes, on June 7, 1945, by the USSR State Symphony, conducted by Samuel Samosud), Prokofiev continued to revise the opera. After his death, the work was finally staged, in the finished revised version (March 31, 1955, at the Leningrad State Academy Maly Opera Theater, conducted by Eduard Grikurov) and in a restored 13-scene version (November 8, 1957, in the Stanislavsky Operat Theater, Moscow, conducted by Alexander Shaverdov).
Alex Ross, in his review (Prokofiev's War and Peace, The New Yorker, March 4, 2002) of the recent production at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (a coproduction with the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, with some pictures available here), called it "the most visually compelling opera production that I have seen in New York in many years." That production was also reviewed by Anthony Tommasini ('War and Peace' Opens; Mishap Raises Concerns, February 16, 2002) for the New York Times.
- Music under Soviet Rule: Prokofiev
- The Serge Prokofiev Foundation
- James Fenton, Prokofiev and propaganda (The Guardian, February 22, 2003)
- Metropolitan Opera materials on War and Peace
- Robert Hilferty, A Knight at the Opera (New York Magazine, January 21, 2002), on billionaire Alberto Vilar, who financed the Met production
- Production of War and Peace at the Opéra de Paris, directed by Francesca Zambello (2000)
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (premiered at the Leningrad Opera, January 22, 1934), with libretto by Dmitri Shostakovich and Alexander Preys.
- Thomas May, Katerina Ismailova and the huge, black waves of desire (San Francisco Opera)
- Music under Soviet Rule: Shostakovichiana
- Alex Ross, Ruined Choirs: Shostakovich (The New Yorker, March 20, 2000)
- Alex Ross, "Unauthorized" (The New Yorker, September 6, 2004)
Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998), Life with an Idiot (Amsterdam, 1992), first of three operas by this composer: Gesualdo (Vienna, 1995) and Historia von D. Johann Fausten (Hamburg, 1995).