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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Tchaikovsky


Bolshoi Opera / Moscow / Music

It’s said of the classic Russian novels that you can’t keep track of the players without a cheat sheet. So, too, with the recent Russian opera One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovich. The music is by Alexander Tchaikovsky—to the best of our knowledge no kin to Pyotr Ilyich, who gave us Swan Lake and the Sixth Symphony, known as the Pathétique. Between the two Solzhenitsyns listed in the credits, however, the relationship is not in doubt. Ignat, the conductor, is a son (the second of three) of Aleksandr, the Nobel Prize-winning refusenik, titan of Russian letters, and author of the quietly astonishing One Day … , which takes us deep inside the humdrum, frozen hell of a Stalinist labor camp, where we meet a convict who has committed no crime, serving out his endless sentence with a wily, decent simplicity of soul that amounts to something very like grace. —M.G.

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Bolshoi Opera Theatre Square, 1, Moskva, Russia, 125009
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