Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, a lurid tale of sex, murder, and corruption, premiered in 1934 and was a success until Stalin saw it two years later, resulting in a Pravda review that viciously condemned it. It was later replaced by an expurgated version, now called Katerina Ismailova after the work's principal character. The original version has now reclaimed its place on international stages. The heroine is the daughter-in-law of Boris, a greedy, lecherous merchant, and the frustrated wife of his impotent son. Katerina poisons Boris and when her husband returns she and her lover, Sergei, kill him too, burying him in the cellar. The body is discovered during their wedding party. Haunted by guilt, Katerina confesses and the newlyweds are consigned to Siberia. When Sergei takes up with another woman, Katerina pushes her into the river and then jumps in herself.