Leningrad: Izd. Leningr. akad. Malogo oper. teatra, 1937. Item #1666
47 pp.: ill. 30x22.5 cm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers. Tears of the spine and extremities, otherwise good.
Scarce. First edition. 1 of 4,200 copies.
A COLLECTION OF ARTICLES DEDICATED TO THE PRODUCTION OF MIKHAIL SHOLOKHOV’S VIRGIN SOIL UPTURNED AT THE STATE ACADEMIC MALY OPERA THEATRE IN LENINGRAD.
A Nobel Prize winner, Mikhail Sholokhov (1905-1984) was one of the world’s foremost modern writers. His novel Podnyata tselina [i.e. Virgin Soil Upturned], dealing with the collectivization of the countryside in the USSR, was first published in 1932 and has been translated into 75 languages and printed in over thirty million copies. In 1937, twenty years after the October Revolution, the Soviet composer Ivan Dzerzhinsky (1909-1978) was commissioned by the Leningrad Maly Opera Theatre to write the opera Virgin Soil Upturned based on Sholokhov’s novel. To get acquainted with the songs of the Don Cossacks, the composer visited the Don in the village of Vyoshenskaya and the Cossack collective farms in the Millerov region. The opera with a libretto by Dzerzhinsky’s brother, the Soviet playwright Leonid Dzerzhinsky (1891-1974), premiered on the stage of the Leningrad Maly Opera Theatre in 1937. The opera was directed by Boris Zohn (1898-1966) and designed by the Soviet theatre artist Yakov Shtoffer (1906-1951). The production turned out to be a big success and, in subsequent years, was staged in a number of cities across the USSR, including Kharkiv, Odesa, Saratov, Perm’, etc. Among the actors were A. Orlov, N. Latonina, S. Balashov, M. Sophronova, etc. This book was printed on the occasion of the production of Mikhail Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned at the State Academic Maly Opera Theatre in Leningrad. The edition contains three articles by the Soviet writer Nikolay Lesyuchevsky, musicologist Andrey Budyakovsky, and the director Boris Zohn (who staged the production). In the text, the authors review Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel Virgin Soil Upturned, Dzerzhinsky’s opera of the same name, and the production of the opera at the stage of Maly Opera Theatre. The book also includes a libretto of the opera, the Cossack’s song, and a program, which features a list of the production crew from actors to costumiers and makeup artists. The edition contains four color illustrations showcasing Shtoffer’s costume designs, numerous black and white photographs, drawings of the actors, different scenes from the opera, costume sketches, etc.
Overall, a rare material on the production of the Virgin Soil Upturned opera at the State Academic Maly Opera Theatre.