Sergei Slonimsky - Master i Margarita

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Sergei Mikhailovich Slonimsky (°1932), born in Leningrad, is the son of the Soviet writer Mikhail Leonidovich Slonimsky (1897-1972), and a nephew of the Russian-American composer Nicolas Slonimsky (1894-1995). From 1943 to 1950 he studied at the Music College in Moscow, after which he moved to the Conservatory of Leningrad, where he became professor.

Sergei Slonimsky composed more than a hundred pieces: 5 operas, 2 ballets, 15 symphonies and works in all genres of chamber, vocal, choral, theatre and cinema music.

From 1970 to 1972 he worked on his chamber opera The Master and Margarita. The libretto was written by Yuri Dimitrin (°1934) and Vitaly Fialkovsky. The opera was first performed at the House of Composers in Leningrad in 1972 and was directed by Gennady Rozhdestvensky (°1931), but then prohibited for stage during seventeen years. Only in 1989 it could be staged again at the Forum Theatre in Moscow, directed by Mikhail Jurowski (°1945) and with the soprano Tatiana Monogarova (°1967) in the role of Margarita.

In the year 2000, Mikhail Jurowski re-adapted the opera in German for the Volkstheater in Rostock (Germany). It was first staged at the Hannover Expo on July 9, 2000, and then premiered at the Volkstheater Rostock on October 6, 2000.

With the link below you can watch Act 1 of the opera Master i Margarita by Sergei Slonimsky, performed on July 10, 2012 at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski..

Click here to watch the video

Further reading

Siglind Bruhn, who is full-time researcher in 20th century musicology at the Institute for the Humanities of the University of Michigan and “chercheur permanent” on the Institut d’esthétique des arts contemporains of the Sorbonne, made a comparative study of the opera's of Sergey Slonimsky, Rainer Kunad and York Höller.

Siglind Bruhn's study is downloadable in the archives section

On January 14, 2010 the Rossyskaya Gazeta published an interview of Maria Bortnovskaya with composer Sergei Slonimsky. One of the topics covered was the opera The Master and Margarita, which Slonimsky composed in 1972 under the Brezhnev regime, and which was banned.

Click here to read the interview

Technical details


4 Baritones, 3 Sopranos, 5 Basses, 6 Tenors, Mezzo soprano

25 '

Schirmer Russian Music

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