International Music Conference "After the End of Music History"
to feature world premieres of banned 1936 Eugene Onegin
(Princeton, NJ) From February 9-18, Princeton University will be the site of three major events centered on the banned dramatization of Alexander Pushkin’s literary masterpiece Eugene Onegin. The “Onegin Project” will include two productions of the Prokofiev/Krzhizhanovsky adaptation banned by the Stalinist regime in 1936 beginning with a world premiere musical and balletic dramatization featuring the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on February 9, 2012 at 8 p.m. and continuing with the world premiere of the theatrical production with performance of the full script and music presented by the Program in Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts from February 10 to 18, 2012. The two productions are presented under the auspices of an international conference, “After the End of Music History,” in honor of the eminent musicologist Richard Taruskin.
In December 1936, the Centennial of Pushkin’s death, the Moscow Chamber Theater abruptly canceled its most ambitious commission – a staging of the poet’s novel-in-verse, Eugene Onegin - under pressure from Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime. Some of the music by Sergei Prokofiev composed for the production was eventually repurposed and appeared in other works, such as his ballet Cinderella and his opera War and Peace. The script adaptation by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky disappeared. The vision, music and script of what promised to be a unique and magnificent retelling of the Russian classic was never realized. In 2007, Princeton faculty Caryl Emerson and Simon Morrison began the process of reviving this neglected masterpiece. A copy of the script with Prokofiev’s notes was unearthed in the Moscow archives by Morrison and first translated into English by Emerson in 2008.
THE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
On Thursday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall the Prokofiev/Krzhizhanovsky Onegin will receive its much-delayed world premiere. The performance will feature a choreographic meditation on the orchestral score, as well as excerpts of Pushkin’s original Russian text. The Princeton Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Rossen Milanov, will perform a 40-instrument orchestration of Prokofiev’s score. The dance elements are directed by Princeton dance faculty member Rebecca Lazier and choreographed by Princeton alumna Sydney Schiff ’10, and will create a contemporary reimagining of the text in the spirit of Krzhizhanovsky. Performing will be Princeton University students from Princeton Ballroom Dance Club and Princeton Glee Club under the direction of Gabriel Crouch. The performance will also include the world premiere of a Concerto for Bass Drum commissioned from Prokofiev’s grandson, Gabriel Prokofiev, and performed by renowned percussionist Joby Burgess.
THE THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE
On Friday, February 10 at 8:00 p.m. the Program in Theater will open the world premiere production of the full Krzhizhanovsky-Pushkin Eugene Onegin, in a verse translation by James E. Falen with the cooperation of Caryl Emerson, directed by Theater Program Acting Director Tim Vasen and acted by a cast of Princeton undergraduates, with incidental music performed on piano by Anna Tchetchetkine ’12 and set design by Anya Klepikov. In this production the full playscript will be united and performed for the first time ever with the music. This version will honor the constricted, intimate feel of Krzhizhanovsky’s text — much of which takes place in dreams, hallucinations, frost-laden corners, window sills, door jambs, fog, mist, storm, black trees in a blizzard, or inside the heads of Tatyana and Eugene. The February 10 opening is by invitation; however the production will be repeated and open to the public on February 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00 p.m. in the Marie and Edward ’53 Matthews Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau Street.
“After the End of Music History ,” organized by Simon Morrison, Caryl Emerson andgraduate student James Steichen, celebrates the career of Richard Taruskin — America’s most prominent public music scholar and author of the five-volume Oxford History of Western Music— while also evaluating the state of the discipline of musicology itself. The overall aim is to consider the changes wrought upon the field in the past two decades—a period marked by the apparent end of music as a notated, written art, the continued transition toward digital technologies, and an enhanced focus on global and vernacular musics. Over sixty scholars of music from all over the world will present papers and keynote addresses on wide-ranging topics. The conference will also feature four panels and a keynote address on the translation, adaptation, and reception of Alexander Pushkin and his Eugene Onegin. Throughout January an online course, “Eugene Onegin from Words to Performance,” will be offered by Morrison and Emerson through Princeton Alumni Education, as a complement to the conference and to provide backstories to the premieres.
All of these events are presented by the Department of Music, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Lewis Center for the Arts, with generous funding from the Office of the President, Office of the Dean of Faculty, David Gardner ’69 Magic Fund of the Council for the Humanities, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Edward T. Cone Foundation, along with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, which has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for this project. Further information on the conference and performances can be found at princeton.edu/arts/oneginproject.
Who: Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Princeton Glee Club, Princeton Student Dancers
Rossen Milanov, conductor; Rebecca Lazier, stage director; Sydney Schiff, choreographer; Gabriel Crouch, Glee Club Director
Program: Gabriel Prokofiev Concerto for Bass Drum
Joby Burgess, Percussionist
Prokofiev/Krzhizhanovsky Eugene Onegin (World Premiere)
When: February 9, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall on the Princeton University campus
Richardson Auditorium is wheelchair accessible and large-print programs are
Tickets: $25 General; $10 Students
In Person: Frist Campus Center Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6pm)*
Richardson Auditorium Ticket Office (open two hours prior to the performances at Richardson Auditorium)
Who: The Program in Theater presents Eugene Onegin (World Premiere)
Tim Vasen, director; Anna Tchetchetkine, pianist; Anya Klepikov, set designer
Program: James E. Falen’s translation (a “drama-in-verse”) of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s playscript adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s novel-in-verse Eugene Onegin with incidental music performed on piano – first time ever the full script and music will be performed together in their entirety
When: February 10 (by invitation), 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Marie and Edward ’53 Matthews Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau Street
Tickets: $12 General; $10 Students
By Phone: 609-258-9220
In Person: Frist Campus Center Ticket Office (open Monday-Friday, 12-6pm)
The conference keynotes and panels are free and open to the public but require prior registration through University Ticketing. For a complete conference schedule visit princeton.edu/arts/oneginproject. Tickets can be reserved by calling University Ticketing at 609-258-9220.