The Teatro Real premieres The Nose, delusional, The Teatro Real premieres The Nose, delusional opera by Dmitri Shostakovich


Between days 13 Y 30 of March Royal Theatre offer seven functions from Nose, from Dmitri Shostakóvich (1906-1975), new production of Teatro Real, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, the Komische Oper Berlin Y Opera Australia.

In this surreal and sarcastic opera, a high state official, goofy bureaucrat, petulant and classist, wake up without his nose, symbol of your identity, social status and sexual power.

Throughout the three acts of the score - a kind of collage vertiginous and iconoclastic musical-, the protagonist, aggrieved, amputated and dazed, desperately looking for his nose, that acquires “human” autonomy, usurping his social status and ascending the sacrosanct ranks of the administration. In his frantic chase, he interacts with a gallery of cartoonish characters. -78 sung and 9 declaimed- that make up a dreamlike puzzle of fragments of distorted reality, like in an exhausting nightmare.

When the young Shostakovich, with scarcely 23 years, finished composing Nose -released in 1930 in Saint Petersburg-, the devastating Stalinist dictatorship began to 'shut up' a whole flourishing generation of fantastic Russian artists and intellectuals, that they had to choose suicide, execution by firing squad or subordination to the retrograde and arbitrary dictates of the regime. The composer chose to live, maintaining a 'tug of war' relationship with the Soviet authorities, subjected to constant surveillance and censorship that marked all his musical creation.

The corrosive score of Nose (1930) and the stark Lady Macbeth de Mtsensk (1934) -which could be seen at the Teatro Real in January 2000, under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich- augured a brilliant operatic career for its author, which Stalin curtailed by forbidding the performance of both works and leaving Shostakovich breathless to write a new opera.

Nose was silenced 40 years in the Soviet Union, although Nikolai Gogol (1909-1952), who was born almost a century before Shostakovich, in full force of tsarism, vindicate precisely the absurd content, apolitical and 'useless' of his account.

In his staging of Nose, Barrie Kosky -known to the Real public thanks to his fantastic version of The magic Flute– claims the surrealist freedom of Gogol's tale to the detriment of social criticism, exploring the dreamlike and burlesque atmosphere of the opera with enormous dynamism and cinematic rhythm, in which the scenes take place in a dark frame, like a movie.

In fact, Shostakovich was closely linked to cinema since his adolescence -when he accompanied silent films on the piano to earn a living-, coming to compose soundtracks for more than 30 films.

The score of Nose evokes the montage of cinematographic sequences full of contrasts, with the incorporation of all kinds of sounds and musical snippets -screams, whispers, mermaids, 'polyphonic talks', atonal choirs, folk songs, jazz, dances- with harsh sounds, strident sounds and a formal freedom that mocks operatic clichés with an overflowing imagination.

The musical direction of this unique score will be from English Mark Wigglesworth, who will lead the Choir and Orchestra Holders of the Teatro Real after the success, in 2018, from Dead Man Walking, de Jake Heggie. He will be in front of a choral and international cast headed by Martin Winkler, who premiered the production in Covent Garden and who recently participated in Arabella Real, playing the role of Count Waldner, father of the protagonist.

Johannes Stepanek, responsible for staging Nose at the Theatre Royal, will direct the premiere in Spain of the satirical cantata Anti-formalist Rayok, de Shostakóvich, in which the bass will participate Alexander Teliga, the pianist Judith Jáuregui and members of the Titular Choir of the Teatro Real, under the direction of Andrés Máspero, he 26 March at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, offering another hidden face of the Russian composer, hidden under the staves of his music.


7 of March, to 19.00 hours | Student's residence

Meeting: Shostakóvich, worker. The vitality of Russian culture before the Terror.

With Santiago Martin Bermudez, playwright, essayist and music critic.

8 of March, to 20.15 hours | Teatro Real, Sala Gayarre

approaches: con Mark Wigglesworth (musical director of Nose), Johannes Stepanek (assistant stage manager Nose), Joan Matabosch (artistic director of the Teatro Real) and Pablo Lorenzo Rodríguez Fernández (musicologist).

involved: Yeraldin Leon (mezzo soprano), Patricia Barton (piano), Daniel Chirilov (fiddle), Simon Veis (cello) y Duncan Gifford (piano).

15, 22 Y 29 of March, to 18.30 hours | Juan March Foundation

concert cycle: Shostakovich and Soviet censorship.

"With Stalin's approval", piano trios (15 of March)

"Behind the back of the Soviet Union", string quartets (22 of March)

"Under the Soviet Yoke", piano recital (29 of March)

28 of March, to 18.30 hours | Víctor Espinós Music Library (Count Duke)

Concert: bauhaus quartet, with works by Shostakovich and Britten.

30 of March, to 18.00 hours | Víctor Espinós Music Library (Count Duke)

didactic concert: School of Music and Dance María Dolores Pradera