Poetry and Music: Marina Tsvetaeva's 'Крысолов': 'The Ratcatcher'

The burghers of stolid Hamelin are so devoid of personality that even their dreams have become prudent.  Then an all-engulfing plague of rats threatens to destroy their peace. They call on a rescuer (trying for a sly deal out of habit) and a flautist, ‘dressed in green’, comes to help. But his power proves deeply unsettling, and knows no master.  At the end the Flautist, who stands for the magical power of Art, takes a terrible toll on the town of Hamelin – neat, comfort-loving, hypocritical and reluctant to pay its debts. The Ratcatcher remained unpublished in full in Russia until the end of the Soviet era half a century after its author’s death, but has come into its own in present-day Russia.

Doors open at 6.30pm; event starts at 7pm; followed by drinks from about 8.30pm.

 

Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow.  Her father was a professor and founder of the Museum of Fine Arts, and her mother, who died of tuberculosis when Marina was 14, was a concert pianist. At the age of 18 Tsvetaeva published her first collection of poems, Evening Album. During her lifetime she wrote poems, verse plays, and prose pieces; she is considered one of the best Russian poets of the 20th Century.