‘The longer one lives,’ wrote the literary historian D.S. Mirsky, ‘the more one is inclined to regard The Tale of Tsar Saltan as the masterpiece of Russian poetry. It has the same appeal for a child of six and for the most sophisticated poetry reader of sixty.’ Antony Wood reads his new translation of Pushkin’s verse fairy tale with David Brummell, Peter Daniels, Penny Dimond, Andrew Hawkins, Masha Karp, Hazel Wood, Ursula Woolley and Ken Young, with excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s suite (solo piano arrangement) drawn from his opera of the same title played by Nadia Giliova.
This archetype of Russian fairy tales is Pushkin’s treatment of a folk tale told to him later in life by his childhood nurse. He noted down the plot and other details and made it into a poem of his own. Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera based on the tale was written several years earlier than his at-first banned and then censored Golden Cockerel, but neither his opera nor Pushkin’s poem Tsar Saltan ever attracted the political trouble with the censors that The Golden Cockerel suffered in both its author’s and Rimsky-Korsakov’s lifetimes. It is light and exhilarating, taking us far away from the cares and troubles of the world.
Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera, premièred in 1900, broadly follows Pushkin’s storyline, if not in certain significant details. The excerpts played by Nadia Giliova give colourful expression to the changing moods and lively narrative momentum of Pushkin’s tale.
This is a Pushkin Club event and all are welcome.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS:
David Brummell is a long-standing member of the Pushkin Club and a former trustee of Pushkin House.
Alla Gelich, a long-standing member of the Pushkin Club, has recited Russian poetry on numerous occasions – in Great Britain, Russia, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Peter Daniels is a poet and translator of Russian poetry. His Selected Poems of Vladislav Khodasevich (Angel Classics, 2013) was shortlisted for the Rossica, Oxford-Weidenfeld and Read Russia awards, commended for the Popescu Prize, and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
Nadia Giliova is a regular performer at Pushkin House, and has given
recitals at many significant venues in London, across the UK and abroad in
Europe, Russia and the United States. Nadia is a graduate of the Gnessin
Academy of Music, Moscow and the Royal Academy of Music, London; she has
been a prize-winner at a number of international competitions, including the
Prokofiev Competition in Moscow.
Andrew Hawkins continues to pursue an active career as an actor, director and lecturer. He has taught at drama schools and university in London and the USA and written plays for radio and stage, screenplays for film and TV, and a novel.
Masha Karp is a freelance journalist. She has published translations of many English and German writers into Russian. She is chair of the Pushkin Club..
Penelope Dimond has worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, Manchester Royal Exchange and Odéon Paris. She is a founder member of the New Factory of the Eccentric Actor.
Hazel Wood is Co-Editor of the quarterly Slightly Foxed.
Ursula Woolley has been Executive Director of Pushkin House since 2012. Before then she worked for the British Council in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and was Deputy Leader of Islington Council with responsibility for education and young people.
Antony Wood is Publisher of Angel Classics, devoted to new translations. His own translations of Pushkin’s verse have appeared in the UK and USA. His Comedy of Tsar Boris and Grishka Otrepiev was produced at the Berlind Theatre, Princeton in 2007, and Mozart and Salieri on Radio 3 in 1982 with Paul Scofield and Simon Callow.
Ken Young has read English translations of Russian poems on a number of occasions at the Pushkin Club.