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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District

01/19/2014 1:00 pm
01/19/2014 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District was the second of the two (or actually three) operas of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75), perhaps the one most significant Russian composer of the Soviet era. This operatic satire was overwhelmingly successful both in Russia and foreign parts. Then Stalin walked out on a performance. Pravda condemned the opera and it was banished from the stage in the USSR for 27 years. Shostakovich reworked it in 1963 into its new form as Katerina Ismailova

Lady Macbeth pits illicit love against the stultifying Soviet bureaucracy and the omnipresent police. Way back on Sunday, March 18, 1984 I presented the world premiere recording of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, made at Abbey Road studios in London and originally released through EMI on three Angel stereo LP's. Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya stars as the adultress Katerina. Her boy friend Sergei is tenor Nicolai Gedda. Mstislav Rostropovich conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Today you hear that same recording in its 1990 EMI reissue on two CD's.