An Unrealized Staging of Weinberg’s Opera “The Passenger” in 1968: Whose Fault?
Antonina Klokova holds a Master of Arts degree of Bremen University in Roman studies, musicology and history. Now she is writing her Dissertation “Memory of the Holocaust in the music of Mieczysław Weinberg” at the Berlin University of Arts. From 2013 till 2017, she worked as a Research Assistant on the History of Jewish Music Chair at the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar. Antonina Klokova translated into German and edited together with Jascha Nemtsov the memories of the Soviet composer Julian Krein, which have been published in 2018 in Germany (“Julian Krein: Notizen aus meinem musikalischen Leben,” Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz). Author of articles on the life and work of Weinberg, written in German, English and Russian.
Opera “The Passenger” by Mieczysław Weinberg is regarded as the composer’s central work, an outstanding work due to its theme and the incredible relevance. Both his fellow composers and the leading national musicologists came to these conclusions, when the opera was first submitted to the USSR Union of Composers for consideration. However, the opera’s staging became uncertain right after its composition, and “The Passenger” did not premiere, neither at the Bolshoi Theatre that commissioned its composition, nor at any other theatre, until 2006.
Whose fault was that? New archive materials that are to be presented in this paper can help to shed the light on the possible reasons for Soviet theatres to neglect the opera. They refer to the history of the opera’s composition and unveil the initial plans of the Bolshoi Theatre to stage it. Besides the archive data, the paper will examine changes in the (cultural) politics of the USSR at the end of 1960s as well as its contemporary historical narrative referring to the Second World War events.
to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which has funded my research work in the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts in 2015.