Summary Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev. War and Peace

Summary Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev. War and Peace

WAR AND PEACE

Opera in five acts (thirteen scenes) with a choral prologue

Libretto by S. S. Prokofiev and M. A. Mendelson-Prokofieva

Characters:

Prince Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky

Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, his son

Princess Mary, the sister of Prince Andrey

Count Ilya Andreevich Rostov

Natasha, his daughter

Sonya, cousin Natasha

Akhrosimova, a relative of the Rostovs

Field-Marshal Mikhail Illarionovich

Kutuzov

Pierre Bezukhov

Helen Bezukhova

Anatole Kuragin, brother of Helen

Lieutenant Dolokhov, a friend of Kuragin

Balaga coachman

Gypsy

Matryoshka

Lieutenant Colonel Denisov

Platon Karataev

Emperor Alexander I

The Peron

The owner of the ball

The hostess of the ball

Adjutant at the ball

Lackey at the ball

The old valiant of Bolkonsky

The maid of Bolkonsky

Bolkonsky Valet

Dunyasha, maid of Achrosimova

Lackey Gavrila

Tikhon Shcherbatiy

Fedor

Matveyev

Old Vasilisa

Trishka

The Prince’s Prince Andrew

Mavra Kuzminichna, housekeeper of the Rostovs

Young Factory

Shopkeeper

Ivanov

Adjutant Kutuzov

General Bennigsen

General Barclay de Tolly

General Ermolov

General Raevsky

1st Staff

2 nd staff

Emperor of France Napoleon I

Metivie, French doctor

French abbot

Marshal Berthier

Marshal Caulaincourt

General Belliar

Minister of the Courtyard de Bosse

The adjutant of Napoleon

Adjutant Marshal Murat

Adjutant General Campana

Adjutant of Prince Eugene

Voice behind the scenes

Marshal Davout

Captain Rembal

Lieutenant Bonnet

Gerard

Jaco

French Officer

1st French actress

2nd French actress

Convoy

1st German General

2nd German

General

1st crazy

2nd crazy

3rd crazy

Bass

Baritone

Mezzo soprano

Bass

Soprano

Mezzo soprano

Mezzo soprano

Bass

Tenor

Contralto

Tenor

Bass

Bass

Contralto

Bass

Tenor

Without singing

Mezzo soprano

Tenor

Soprano

Baritone

Tenor

Baritone

Mezzo soprano

Bass

Mezzo soprano

Baritone

Bass

Tenor

Baritone

Mezzo soprano

Contralto

Tenor

Contralto

Tenor

Soprano

Tenor

Tenor

Baritone

Tenor

Bass

Baritone

Tenor

Bass

Baritone

Bass

Tenor

Bass

Without singing

Bass

Tenor

Bass

Contralto

Tenor

Tenor

Tenor

Bass

Bass

Tenor

Tenor

Bass

Baritone

Soprano

Mezzo soprano

Without singing

Without singing

Without singing

Tenor

Bass

Without singing

Guests at balls, Russian officers, soldiers, partisans and militiamen, residents of Moscow, French officers and soldiers, etc.

The action takes place in Russia from 1809 to 1812.

HISTORY OF CREATION

The opera was created over the course of twelve years. Its original plan arose in the spring of 1941. Covered with a patriotic impulse, the composer, together with librettist MA Mendelson-Prokofieva, created within a few months a large part of the work. In subsequent years, it expanded, supplemented by new paintings and episodes, edited. By 1943 the opera was mostly finished and first shown in concert performance in Moscow on October 16, 1945; June 12, 1946 on the stage of the Small Opera House in Leningrad premiere of the first part of “War and Peace”, that is, the initial 8 paintings (for this production was added the second picture – “The Ball at the Catherine the Great” and the tenth – “The Scene of the Military Council of the Russian Generals in Fili “, created for the alleged production of the second part of the opera).

In Tolstoy’s genius epic War and Peace, written in 1863-1869, an extensive gallery of actors was given, various scenes of the life of secular society and people were shown at a time when the historical destinies of Russia were being decided. The content of the novel, of course, could not fully enter the opera. The composer together with the librettist selected those episodes and events that gave the most grateful material for creating a musical-dramatic work. Not trying to follow the development of the plot of the novel, the opera singers singled out the key moments of the plot. Their main task was to clearly reveal the patriotic idea of ​​the Tolstoy epic, to show the beauty and richness of the spiritual world of the heroes of the drama.

PLOT

Andrew Bolkonsky traveled by stop in the estate of the Count of Rostov. He is full of woeful thoughts; a future seems to him bleak. Natasha Rostova’s ringing voice interrupts sad contemplation. Worried by the beauty of the spring night, she speaks with delight to her cousin Sonia. The irresistible rejoicing of youth, the accidental witness of which became Prince Andrew, gives him hope for happiness.

At the grand ball dance guests. The invitees continue to gather. Among them are Count Rostov with his daughter, Pierre Bezukhov with his beautiful wife Helen, her brother Anatol Kuragin. The fun is in full swing, but Natasha Rostova, who no one notices, feels lonely. On the tour of the waltz she is invited by Bolkonsky. Natasha is transformed – she is happy, Andrew is fascinated by her.

Andrei made a proposal to Natasha. She wants to get to know the groom’s family. Count Rostov brings his daughter to the house of Bolkonsky, but the old prince refuses to receive guests. Alarmed Rostov leaves Natasha with Andrei’s sister Princess Mary. Unexpectedly, the old man Bolkonsky enters. In anger, he insults Natasha, considering her unworthy of her son.

At the ball at Helen Bezukhova Anatole Kuragin admits Natasha in love. Confused and confused Natasha can not figure out the feelings that gripped her.

In the office of Dolokhov friends are preparing for the departure of Anatol. Kuragin surrenders to dreams of an imminent meeting with Natasha, whom he is going to kidnap and take away abroad today. Dolokhov tries to dissuade Anatol from the risky venture, but Kuragin is adamant: he does not want to think about the consequences. With the dashing trio came coach Balaga. Anatole says goodbye to the gypsy Matryoshka and goes on a journey.

Natasha looks forward to the appearance of Kuragin. The maid Dunyasha tells her that Sonia gave away the secret of escape. Akhrosimov, in whose house Natasha is staying, prevents the kidnapping. Natasha is in despair. Her mental anguish intensifies after she learns from Pierre Bezukhov that Kuragin is married.

After a visit. Akhrosimova Pierre returns home, where he finds Anatole. In a fury, Pierre demands from him to return Natasha’s letters and immediately leave Moscow. Scared Anatole agrees. The cowardice of Kuragin causes contempt and the hatred of Pierre. His sad reflections are interrupted by the news of the beginning of the war with Napoleon.

At the Borodino field, a group of militia builds fortifications. They are determined to win the upcoming fight. Not far off Lieutenant Colonel Denisov tells the commander of the Jaeger Regiment, Andrei Bolkonsky, about his guerrilla war plan. The meeting with Denisov stirred up memories of the recent past in the soul of Prince Andrey. Gladly welcomed by the troops, Field Marshal Kutuzov bypasses the position. He refers to the passing regiments with words that inspire the feat. Kutuzov calls Prince Bolkonsky and invites him to serve in the headquarters. But Bolkonsky does not want to part with the people he loved in the days of terrible trials. The thunder of the first shots is heard – the battle of Borodino begins.

Shevardinsky redoubt. Hence Napoleon watches the battle. He does not doubt the success. However, instead of the usual reports of brilliant victories, the adjutants of the marshals arrive one by one, asking for reinforcements. Napoleon is confused. He can not understand why the troops led by him do not turn the enemy into flight, why the military happiness has changed him.

A military council of the Russian command assembled in the village hut in the village of Fili. Field Marshal Kutuzov calls to resolve the question of whether to risk losing the army in a battle near Moscow or leaving the city without a fight. The opinions of the generals were divided. Benigsen and Ermolov offer to take the battle; Barclay de Tolly and Rayevsky argue, arguing that the position of the Vorobyovy Mountains is unprofitable, and the enemy has numerical superiority. After hearing the generals, the Field Marshal gives the order for retreat. Everyone diverge. Kutuzov remains alone, lost in meditation about the fate of his homeland, foreseeing the days ahead of the severe trials of the future victory of the Russian people.

The deserted streets of Moscow are lit by the flames of a fire. The French officers Rembale and Bonnet speak with alarm about the events of the last days. The city, abandoned by the inhabitants, met them unfriendly. The army dispersed to its homes, seized with the excitement of robbery. With anger watching the remaining Muscovites for robbery of French soldiers. Pierre appears; he learns that the Rostovs left Moscow, leaving all the property and taking with them the wounded, including Prince Andrew. Pierre is determined to avenge the suffering of the people, to take part in his struggle. Marshal Davout orders that anyone who is suspected of setting fire to Moscow be shot. The case helps Pierre, who was among the arrested, to avoid this fate. He is attached to a detachment of prisoners, where he meets with Platon Karataev. Enters Napoleon surrounded by retinue. The wall of the building suddenly collapses in front of him. The glow of the blazing Moscow heralds the death of his army. Moves a mournful procession with the bodies of the executed townspeople.

In the dark hut lies the heavily wounded prince Andrey in delirium. In his morbidly excited mind, the nightmares and memories of the past days are incoherently inconsistent; painful foreboding of the approaching death. Natasha appears in the doorway, shocked by grief. She rushes to Prince Andrew and pleads to forgive her for all the suffering that she caused him. Calmed, once again happy, Andrew dies.

The remnants of Napoleon’s army randomly retreat along the snow-covered Smolensk road, making their way through the blizzard and blizzard. Under the escort are leading Russian prisoners. The retreating French detachment is attacked by partisans led by Denisov, Dolokhov and Scherbat. After a short battle they gather around the liberated prisoners. Joyful exclamations of partisans welcome the appearance of Kutuzov, who addresses the people with gratitude for the courage in the fight against the enemy. The words of the field marshal cause a general upsurge.

MUSIC

Opera Prokofiev “War and Peace” – an outstanding work of modern music theater. The depth and scope of the plan, the monumental dimensions gave this product unusual features. The truthful disclosure of the spiritual drama of the heroes is combined here with the display of the broad pictures of everyday life, historical events that played a huge role in the life of the Russian people; lyrical beginning, deepened psychologism intertwined with majestic epic. Original construction of the opera: its first seven paintings are devoted to personal relationships of the main characters, the last six reveal primarily the theme of the people’s struggle. Rapid development of action, rapid, dynamic change of contrast episodes emphasize the dramatic nature of music.

Opera opens with a choral epigraph-prologue “The forces of the two-hundred languages ​​of Europe broke into Russia”; an atmosphere of courageous solemnity prevails. The prologue is followed by an orchestral overture; in her music heroic and patriotic images dominate (the theme of the folk chorus from the 9th painting “How Our Kutuzov came to the people” and the theme of Kutuzov); The overture also uses music depicting the lyrical experiences of the protagonists of the work.

The first picture – “Otradnoe” – is sustained in soft watercolor tones expressively conveying the poetry of the spring night. In two monologues of Andrey (at the beginning and at the end of the picture) dreamy-elegiac melodies are combined with the manly-agitated. In the center of the picture – a joyful arioso of Natasha and her duet with Sonya “A stream that hovers over the light sand” (to the text of VA Zhukovsky).

The second picture – “The Ball at the Catherine’s Grandee” – contrasts with the previous one. The whole action takes place against the background of dances. The solemn, majestic polonaise is replaced by a full fire of the mazurka. Perfectly recreate the spirit of the era of two choruses on the texts of Batyushkov and Lomonosov. The captivating melody of waltz characterizes the birth of pure love of Prince Andrew and Natasha.

The third picture – “In the Mansion of the Old Prince Bolkonsky” – reveals new sides in the image of Natasha; in her arioso “And maybe he will come today” is transferred the drama of an offended feeling and a passionate dream of happiness. The image of the old prince Bolkonsky is depicted with miserable but striking strokes; The jerky phrases of the recitative emphasize his irritability and sharpness.

The fourth picture – “In the living room at Helen” – begins with a cheerful waltz. Against the background of the insinuating melody of the “waltz of seduction” Kuragin admits Natasha Rostov in love (“Since that time, as I met you”).

Laconic fifth picture – “In the office of Dolokhov” – vividly depicts the depraved Anatol Kuragin. The juicy color is marked by the song of coachman Balaga “Eh, I love dashing famously”.

A small orchestral introduction to the sixth painting – “In the Mansion of Akhrosimova” – depicts the excitement of Natasha awaiting Anatole. Continuous dramatic development, depth, strength of expression of Natasha’s mental anguish make this picture one of the best in opera; Especially the dialogue between Natasha and Akhrosimova stands out.

The seventh picture – “In the study of Pierre” – is devoted to Bezukhov’s description. This picture ends the display of peaceful life on the eve of the Patriotic War.

In the center of the eighth painting – Before the Battle of Borodino – the choral scenes of the people’s genre, in which the historical color of the era, patriotism, confidence in victory (the militia choirs and passing regiments) are remarkably transferred, the people’s features are emphasized in the image of Kutuzov, his arias “The Incredible People” is given an epic tinge (the melody is further developed in the chorus “The People Shook Up”) .The feeling of hot love for the homeland is expressed in the monologue of Prince Andrey “But I’ll Tell You.” A fast, dynamic episode re-creates dramatically the atmosphere of preparation for a decisive battle with the enemy.

The ninth picture – “At the rate of Napoleon in the Shevardino redoubt” – in character is different from neighboring; nervous, convulsive rhythms, short, abrupt melodies emphasize the anxiety of the situation. In the two monologues of Napoleon, set off by the Russian soldiers who have sounded from afar, “Let us enter, brothers, into a mortal battle,” reveals the collapse of his arrogant schemes.

In the tenth painting – “The Military Council of the Russian Command in Fili” – the epic image of Kutuzov, etched in his beautiful, manly aria “Magnificent, in the sun’s rays”, clearly appears. The soldiers’ chorus of the “Motherland” revives the spirit of the history of the Patriotic War.

The eleventh painting – “Burning Moscow, captured by the enemy” – the most developed in the opera. Here, for the first time, the Russian and French camps are directly opposed. The suffering and anger of the people with dramatic drama are transmitted in the scene of the execution and the choir “Not to be in Moscow for ever, no servant” and “At night dark”. The French are shown at the beginning of the picture carelessly having fun (Jacob’s songs “Darling said” and Gerard “Come with me, my beauty”), and in the end – gripped by horror (the episode of the flight of actors, the scene of the fire).

In the twelfth painting – “In the hut in Mytishchi” (death of Prince Andrew) – the music reaches the highest drama. Against the backdrop of the regularly repeated phrase “Pi-ti, pi-ti”, performed by the choir behind the scenes and giving the whole picture an ominous color, the voice of the dying Prince Andrew “quietly sounds,” Everything stretches and stretches. ” As a remembrance of his homeland, in words “Fatherland, golden-domed Moscow”, the melody of the aria of Kutuzov appears briefly, and after Natasha’s coming, as an image of bright love that lit up the last moments of Prince Andrew’s life, a waltz from the second picture sounds.

The thirteenth painting – “Smolenskaya road.” Orchestral entry with striking realism depicts a raging blizzard, the howling of the wind. The alternation of contrasting episodes conveys the dynamics of events: the retreat of French troops, the killing of Karataev, the arrival of Russian partisans (monologues of Pierre, Denisov, Scherbatyi stand out). The opera ends with the appeal of Kutuzov to the people and the majestic, jubilant chorus-apotheosis “For the fatherland we walked into a mortal battle.”

1 The scenes of the musical theaters of the Soviet Union present different scenic versions of the opera, usually with bills; presentation of the plot and analysis of music are given on the final full edition, made by the composer.


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Summary Sergey Sergeevich Prokofiev. War and Peace