Accessibility links

|

Sign In
Basket
Basket
  • Home
  • News
  • Watch: Exploring the power and passion of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

Watch: Exploring the power and passion of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

Antonio Pappano uncovers the controversial history and brooding music of Shostakovich's great masterpiece.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

18 April 2018 at 3.45pm | 1 Comment

Composed by a 26-year-old Dmitry Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of Mstensk was first performed in two different productions in two separate locations within two days in January 1934.

After touring successfully for two years the opera was performed in front of Joseph Stalin, who took great offence at the subversive subject matter and described the work as 'an ugly flood of confusing sound ... a pandemonium of creaking, shrieking and crashes'.

In this introductory film, created by the V&A as part of the Opera: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition, Music Director of The Royal Opera Antonio Pappano and opera director Robert Carsen share their thoughts on Shostakovich's powerful work, and the historical context surrounding it.

'This is a fascinating, unbelievably powerful piece,' Carsen explains. 'Shostakovich's work being banned quite shortly after it had this double premiere in St Petersburg and Moscow; it becomes an intense political statement reflecting what was happening in the Russia of that period.'

Antonio Pappano explores the opera's background and story, before delving deeper into the character of Lady Macbeth through her music.

'It's set in the most gorgeous musical environment, these very dark chords: it's very Russian,' he says. '[Shostakovich was] such a fantastic melodist. We don't expect that from a supposedly 'modern' composer.'

This video was filmed as part of the Opera: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum and created in collaboration with the Royal Opera House.

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, directed by Richard Jones, runs until 27 April 2018. Tickets are still available. 

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

18 April 2018 at 3.45pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Antonio Pappano, by Richard Jones, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Opera: passion power and politics, Production, Shostakovich

This article has 1 comment

  1. Anne Aldridge - soprano responded on 27 April 2018 at 1:49pm Reply

    All best to cast as wasn't on this journey!

Comment on this article

Your email will not be published

Website URL is optional