Poems and Music
In the end of 2001, the play called “Doctor Zhivago” was performed
on the stage of the Moscow theatre “Na Taganke”. Actually, the first night of this
performance was in Vienna in 1993 on May 18. The play was staged by Yuri Lyubimov and the
famous composer Alfred Schnitke. Nowadays it is dedicated to the memory of Schnitke and it
is called a “musical parable by the novel Doctor Zhivago and the poetry of A.
Blok, O. Mandelshtam, B. Pasternak and A. Pushkin.”
The director of the theatre and this very play says “Doctor Zhivago is not a
novel, but a sort of meditation. That’s why I included poetry in the performance.”
These are the fragments from the works of Blok, Mandelshtam and Pushkin.
But the most important point of the play is the music. Thanks to the music, the poems
begin to live. Most of the actors sing. It would be impossible to combine the works of
different authors without music in such harmony. All that the spectator needs is to listen
to the music and to enjoy the great acting. Valery Zolotukhin, who acts Zhivago, is a
perfect poem-reader; and Anna Agapova (Larisa) is famous for her very unusual and charming
Before seeing the play I would strongly recommend you to learn the events of the 30s in
the USSR, and to read the novel of Pasternak if you haven’t read it already. Don’t
forget that the author was a witness to the Revolution (October 1917), the Civil War,
Stalin’s repressions, and World War II. In the novel World War I and the Civil War are
shown, and at the same time the eternal problems of love, belief and sacrifice are most
In the play Lyubimov managed to save the meaning and the tragedy of the novel and to join
it with music so that the performance seems to be a combination of feelings.
By Ann Gudkova, School No. 1302, 11th grade pupil