03 May, Sunday, 19:00

Opera in four acts, seven scenes (concert performance)

The composer Antonio Spadavecchia (1907–1988) and his opera The Gadfly

Happy is the composer whose melody – even if it’s just the one – becomes so popular with the nation that the composer himself might not always be remembered and at times is forgotten entirely. Such melodies include the magnificent La Marseillaiseand L’Internationale, the Christmas carols Silent Night, Holy Night and The Forest Raised a Christmas Tree as well as many songs from the war years. Older people who grew up in the post-war era will also remember another wonderful cinematic fairy-tale – Cinderelladirected by Nadezhda Kosheverova featuring the great actors Faina Ranevskaya (the Stepmother) and Erast Garin (the King) as well as the young Yanina Zhejmo (Cinderella). Her merry song Stand up, Children, Stand in a Circle... was loved by children and adults alike and became the “calling card” of the Russian composer Antonio Spadavecchia.

The name and surname “betray” the Italian ancestry of this People’s Artist of the RSFSR. The composer’s grandfather the Garibaldian Nicolò Spadavecchia fought with Garibaldi himself to free their country of foreign rule but after the defeat during the Roman Uprising, in order to save himself from prosecution by the authorities, he was forced to flee Italy to Russia with his family and settled in Odessa.

The Garibaldian’s son Emmanuel became a sea captain while his grandson Antonio, inheriting his family’s love of music (his father had a good knowledge of Italian operas and his mother – a pianist – was trained in St Petersburg), became a composer. One hundred years after the event he turned to the occurrences of the national liberation movement in Italy when working on his opera The Gadfly after the eponymous novel by Ethel Lilian Voynich.

Tickets cost: from 700 to 1500 roubles.

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