Semyon Kotko

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Semyon Kotko (), Op. 81, is an opera in five acts by Sergei Prokofiev to a libretto by Sergei Prokofiev and Valentin Katayev based on Katayev's 1937 novel I Am the Son of Working People ().

Composition history

One of only two operas written by Prokofiev on a Soviet subject (the other being The Story of a Real Man), Semyon Kotko was composed between the summers of 1938 and 1939. From the beginning, it was intended that the opera would be produced by the brilliant director and a great friend of Prokofiev, Vsevolod Meyerhold, who was at that time the director of the Stanislavsky Opera Theatre. Both Prokofiev and Meyerhold had tried to plan productions of several of Prokofiev's operas in the past, but all of them had failed. However, on 20 June 1939, just a week before Prokofiev completed the piano score of Semyon Kotko, Meyerhold was arrested. Nothing would be heard about his fate from then on; many years later it was revealed that he had been shot in February 1940. The whole production fell into jeopardy. An actress, Serafima Birman, took Meyerhold's place, but the result was dissatisfying. The opera was further compromised by the Nazi-Soviet pact, which made it necessary to change the operatic enemies from Germans to haydamaks (Ukrainian nationalists)Simon Morrison The People's Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years, Oxford University Press: p.104.

The opera received its premiere on 23 June 1940 at the Stanislavsky Opera Theatre in Moscow conducted by......
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