Centre for Russian Music panel discussion ‘Sexual politics and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’
This panel explores one of the most powerful and controversial operas of the last century: Shostakovich’s 'Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District' (1932). Despite a successful initial run, the opera was famously pulled from the Soviet stage after Stalin attended a performance in January 1936. Shostakovich later revised the opera as 'Katerina Izmailova' (1962), and it was in this version that the opera found official favour. Debate has raged ever since about the rights and wrongs of political and self-censorship. At the root of these discussions, and indeed at the heart of the opera itself, stands the protagonist Katerina: a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual violence, turned serial killer.
Our three speakers will trace Lady Macbeth and its shifting versions across the 20th century: Justin Gregg focuses on the characterization of Katerina in the context of ideas about ‘new Soviet woman’ in the 1930s; Philip Bullock on the 1966 Soviet film adaptation of Shostakovich’s revised version of the opera; and Evgeniya Kondrashina will tell of how a 1979 LP played a pivotal role in persuading directors to return to the original. The talks will conclude with a discussion of the issues arising in the staging and teaching of the opera today.
Speakers: Philip Bullock (University of Oxford), Evgeniya Kondrashina (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Justin T. Gregg (Columbia University)
Chair: Tamsin Alexander (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Open to all, no reservation necessary.
The Music Research Series is designed to help postgraduate students advance their research and careers. The events stimulate exchange, hones skills, facilitates the creation of professional networks and helps to consolidate the department’s postgraduate community, all over a glass of wine! Attendance is strongly recommended for all postgraduate students (MA, MMus and PGR) in Music but of course undergraduates, music researchers, and visitors from across the college and the community are also most welcome to these public lectures.
Dates & times
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