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V. Vlasova
E. Lobzakova

The opera “Kholstomer” by V. Kobekin: Towards the problem of “composer’s” libretto

This article deals with one of the brightest creations of contemporary Russian musical theatre – the opera “Kholstomer” by Vladimir Kobekin, whose works are in demand by theatre practitioners and audiences and have repeatedly been the subject of scholar reflection by Russian musicologists. The aim of the article is to carry out the stage-by-stage analysis of L. Tolstoy’s story with the same title, which became a literary basis for the libretto, to reveal genre, structural, substantial and imaginative transformations in comparison with the original source. Explaining in detail the mechanism of story’s interpretation in the context of “composer’s” libretto, the author focuses on modifications which contributed to the organic transformation of Tolstoy’s story, which to a small degree meets the laws of “big” opera, into a full opera libretto with dialogue, multi-character, psychological development of characters, various scenic situations. The article demonstrates ways of revision (temporal and spatial metamorphoses, changes in the system of characters, inner action’s transfer to outer action, conjunction of the original text with alien texts, dramaturgical plans’ re-accentuation, etc.), which radically change the genre profile and structure of Tolstoy’s work, while at the same time being faithful to its inner essence, imagery and ethics. The article shows that the harmoniously organized dramaturgy of the libretto allows us to speak about it as a qualitative basis for further composing, performing and directing interpretations. As a result of analytical observations the author concludes that making a number of modifications of the adaptation of the original in the libretto, Kobekin does not impoverish the complex, multi-dimensional ideological and philosophical concept laid down by the writer, and retains the “artistic portrait” of the original, the harmony and integrity of the literary text in its operatic and scenic embodiment.

Key words

V. Kobekin, “Kholstomer”, L. Tolstoy, modern opera, literary original, opera libretto.

For citation

Vlasova V., Lobzakova E. The opera “Kholstomer” by V. Kobekin: Towards the problem of “composer’s” libretto // South-Russian Musical Anthology. 2022. No. 3. Pp. 127-135.