Los Angeles Philharmonic to present lost Shostakovich opera

Posted on: November 18, 2010

In Thursday’s (11/18) Los Angeles Times, Reed Johnson writes, “The surviving prologue of an unfinished, long-lost opera by Dmitri Shostakovich will have its world premiere in December 2011 in a semi-staged production at Walt Disney Concert Hall, capping a multi-year process of musical sleuthing and improbable discoveries that’s nearly as eye-opening as the work’s bizarre subject matter. Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in three performances of the reconstructed prologue to the opera, ‘Orango,’ a blisteringly satirical 1932 work about the wayward doings of a grotesque half-man, half-ape creature that the Russian composer wrote in collaboration with librettists Alexei Tolstoy and Alexander Starchakov. Peter Sellars will direct the Phil’s production of the 40-minute work, which has been orchestrated from the surviving piano sketches by British composer Gerard McBurney, artistic programming advisor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the request of Irina Antonovna Shostakovich, the composer’s third wife and widow. … The prologue arrived in the hands of the Phil through a circuitous route that began with the dogged detective work of a Russian musicologist, Olga Digonskaya.”

Posted November 18, 2010