June 28, 2020

The Nose Knows



The Nose Knows
A scene from the opera. The Royal Opera (Youtube)

Dmitry Shostakovich was just 20 when he began writing The Nose, his operatic debut. It took him about a year to turn to a tiny short story by Gogol into a masterpiece. Gogol's story is an absurdist satire, in which a civil servant wakes up one day to find that his nose has left his face and launched its owner on a ludicrous battle against both nose and the authorities, as bureaucratic processes break down in the face of so unusual a problem.

Shostakovich’s opera is a work of exuberant energy, full of musical jokes and grotesque parody. This video shows the tap-dancing noses of The Royal Opera's 2016 production. Enjoy! Heaven nose, it's not every day you can see nostrils with such flare...

Dmitry Shostakovich
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Nabokov on Gogol

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