Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Nose (opera)
The opera was written between 1927 and 1928, and is based on a story (1835-1836) by Nikolai Gogol. In 1929, the opera was criticised as "formalist" by RAPM, and it opened to generally poor reviews in 1930. After sixteen performances, it was not performed again in the Soviet Union until 1974, when it was revived by Gennady Rozhdestvensky and Boris Pokrovsky .
The music is a montage of different styles, including folk music, popular song and atonality. The apparent chaos is given structure by formal musical devices such as canons and quartets, a device copied from Alban Berg's Wozzeck.
The morning after shaving Kovalyov, one of his regular customers, a barber finds a nose in his bread. He tries to get rid of it by throwing it in the Neva river, but he is caught by a policeman. Meanwhile Kovalyov wakes and finds his nose missing. He later sees his nose in the Kazan Cathedral , but it has acquired a higher rank than him and refuses to return to his face.
Kovalyov visits the newspaper office to place an advert about the loss of his nose, but is refused. He returns to his flat, where his servant sings a love song and Kovalyov is left in despair.
A group of policemen are at a coach station, in order to prevent the nose from escaping. The nose tries to get on the coach at the last minute: the horse is frightened and runs away, while the driver tries to shoot the nose. The nose is caught, beaten and returned to Kovalyov. However, he is unable to reattach the nose. He suspects that he has been enchanted by a woman called Podtochina, because he would not marry her daughter. He writes to ask her to undo the spell, but she misinterprets the letter as a proposal to her daughter. She convinces him that she is innnocent. In the city, crowds gather in search of the nose.
Kovalyov wakes up with his nose reattached. He is shaved by the barber and flirts as he walks along Nevsky Prospekt.
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