Russian Soviet composer Dmitry Shostakovich inscribed and signed musical theater program opera Katerina Izmailova ( Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District) " To Soviet-Austrian society for good memories. D. Shostakovich. January 30, 1965 "
Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre Opera Katarina Izmailova Program size 8.1/3" x 6", 8 pages, excellent condition.
It is hard to name another opera with a fate as complicated and dramatic as that of its heroine. Shostakovich came up with the idea of composing an opera based on Nikolai Leskov's novel Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, perhaps the most outright and cruel work of the Russian classical literature, in the early 1930s. Finished in 1932, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District (as the opera was originally titled) was staged two years later in Leningrad and then in Moscow caused a heated controversy. Some of the conservative spectators were shocked, but the majority welcomed Shostakovich's work as the first really new word in Soviet and European music theatre. The traditions of Russian opera of the 19th century, the influence of Wagner, Richard Strauss and European avant-garde (especially Alban Berg's Wozzeck staged in Leningrad in 1927) were melted in a creative furnace of the composer's individuality resulting in one of the best operas of the 20th century.
During two years, it was triumphantly staged in many theatres of the USSR and abroad. However, the opera was condemned after Stalin saw it. "A mess instead of music" - that was a title of a scathing article in the Pravda in January 1936. It marked the beginning of unfounded criticism at Shostakovich for "formalism", while Lady Macbeth was banned from the stage. The ban was lifted as late as in the early 1960s when Shostakovich had realized the second edition of the opera under the name of Katerina Izmailova.
The opera was staged in Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre in 1964 and later it took the place it deserved in Russian and foreign theatres. The opera was conducted by a young maestro Gennady Provatorov.