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Pushkin the Opera: Marita Phillips in conversation with Sasha Dugdale

Marita Phillips is the great-great-great granddaughter of both Pushkin and Nicholas I. She has spent many years writing the libretto for Pushkin - The Opera, which will premiere in the UK on July 11th and 12th at Grange Park Opera, with a score by Russian composer Konstantin Boyarsky. In conversation with writer, translator and poet Sasha Dugdale, she will talk about the Opera, its inception, creation and the upcoming production. 

Written over 15 years the opera became a personal odyssey for Phillips, bringing her closer to Pushkin: ‘It’s a way to discover him . . . the journey of this libretto has been a rich experience for me with many twists and turns, finally emerging as this opera, given life by the music of Konstantin Boyarsky’.

Pushkin – The Opera will be performed in English by The Novaya Opera Company (soloists, orchestra and chorus) with conductor Jan Latham-Koenig on Wednesday 11 and Thursday 12 July 2018. 

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Marita Phillips is a British songwriter and author. Her lyrics have been recorded by artists such as Peter Skellern, Demis Roussos, William Lovelady and Art Garfunkel. She has written the libretto for Pushkin - The Opera, based on the lives of her great-great-great-grandfathers, Alexander Pushkin and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. Music by Konstantin Boyarsky the opera was premiered in Moscow by Novaya Opera in February 2017.

Marita Phillips studied acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and ballet at the Nesta Brooking School before training as a mime with Adam Darius, with whom she founded and ran The Mime Centre, London. She has written the book and lyrics for the children's musicals; "The Dream Dealer" and "Buzz – the story of Glorybee". She has also written the novel "The Dream Dealer".

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Sasha Dugdale is a poet, translator and, until recently, editor of the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. Dugdale has published two collections of translations of Russian poetry. Birdsong on the Seabed (Bloodaxe) by Elena Shvarts, was a Poetry Book Society choice and shortlisted for the Popescu and Academica Rossica Translation Awards. A fourth collection of her own poems, Joy, is published by Carcanet in November 2017 and is a PBS Winter Choice. Her poem 'Joy' was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2016. Her research is currently focused on Pushkin, particularly his early years at the Lycée.