Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023796, Sun, 17 Mar 2013 12:20:08 -0700

Ivan IV & other russian literature tid-bits
Bizet's opera Ivan IV, I assume indicating 'the Terrible', arrived - which
besides the appositive construction reminded me that Georges Bizet, famous for
Carmen (link through Merimee to Pushkin) of course, also has a direct link with

Proust's famous friend Mme Straus is actually Georges Bizet's widow. Bizet died
young and if not in penury, certainly unrecognized - though shortly after his
death Carmen did start , much likeLolita, to overcome initial infamy and begin
her trek into the popular heart. Not to mention the link back through Proust to

Does everything lead back to Russian Literature? in my house, perhaps.


p.s. Besides the well-known Pecheurs de Perles and Jolie Fille de Perth (isn't
that in Russia too?*) and l'Arlesienne, also wrote three other operas, Don
Procopio, Djamileh and (surprise) Vasco da Gama.

*Perth is in Scotland and there's another in Australia. The opera is based on a
story by Sir Walter Scott, whose great great great granddaughter lives in
Pasadena. I may have been thinking of Perm, said to be a city of great culture -
especially rich in theaters (opera, ballet and puppet).

p.p.s. I was not aware until I just googled Ivan IV, that he was a writer of
some talent, compared even to Shakespeare, and a patron of the arts - not
something for which he is known nowadays:

Ivan was a poet, a composer of considerable talent, and supported the arts. His
Orthodox liturgical hymn, "Stichiron No. 1 in Honor of St. Peter", and fragments
of his letters were put into music by Soviet composer Rodion Shchedrin. The
recording was released in 1988, marking the millennium of Christianity in
Russia, and was the first Soviet-produced CD.[31][32][33]
Ivan's repentance: he asks a father superior of the Pskovo-Pechorsky
Monastery to let him take the tonsure at hismonastery. Painting by Klavdiy
D.S. Mirsky called Ivan "a pamphleteer of genius".[34] The epistles attributed
to him are the masterpieces of old Russian (perhaps all Russian) political
journalism. They may be too full of texts from the Scriptures and the Fathers,
and their Church Slavonic is not always correct, but they are full of cruel
irony, expressed in pointedly forcible terms.

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