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Fall into a grinder or walk through the flame. Director Yuriy Alexandrov presented an opera about the controversial October 1917


There’s an anecdote among musicians about composer Vano Muradeli – that of is argument woth Vasiliy Pavlovich Solovyev-Sedoy. Vano Muradeli was big name composer and, more importantly, big name poet of the Soviet era – invoking genuine fascination with the laureate of two Stalin’s medals. His opera “October” has now been executed by director Yuriy Alexandrov, marking the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution. What came out of it – in Darya Patrina’s report.


Officer of the Tsar’s army is in love with Marina. Marina loves Andrey the Bolshevik. Andrey loves the Revolution – and invites Marina into the bright future. Marina dies, saving Andrey’s life. The army officer dies too. So, in the end, only Andrey and his Great Revolution remain.

One would suspect that the subject of the Revolution comes up in our imagination only in connection with anniversaries. In 2017, Vano Muradeli’s opera “October” takes the stage only because we are marking the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was written in 1964to mark 40 years since the death of the leader of the world’s proletariat. Lenin even had a part in this opera. Although it was not necessary for today’s version – back in 1964 critics were unanimous that the role of the leader was the least interesting in Muradeli’s opera.

Yuriy Alexandrov. Director: “Lenin is too big of a man – deserves a separate opera. Right now we are focusing on a lyrical story.

Only that lyrical story and several significant verses have remained from Muradeli’s original opera. Looking at Alexandrov’s version nowadays, its hard to imagine that back in those days “October” was regarded as agitprop.

The controversy of those events from 100 years ago was underlined by Alexandrov through poems by Blok, Akhmatova, Gippius, Mayakovsky, Voznesenskiy and Nesmelov. Those are intertwined with music.

The poems are read out loud by third-year students of Theatre Academy, from Semen Spivak’s class. The youngest one is 19 years old. And for him – who only recently graduated from school – such take on the revolution is brand new. As if modern-day students are banned from reading “Doctor Zhivago”.

Some are ground into dust by the Revolution. Others walk through the flame of it and become hard as steel. We may feel sympathy for the former and admire the latter. But, most importantly, we can have different opinions on the revolution – and we do not have to conceal those.