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date: 10 April 2020

Velikaya druzhba (‘The Great Friendship’)locked

  • Laurel Fay

Extract

(‘The Great Friendship’)

Opera in four acts by Vano Il’ich Muradeli to a libretto by G. D. Mdivani; Stalino (now Donets’k), Opera and Ballet Theatre, 28 September 1947.

The Great Friendship, Muradeli’s first opera, was begun in 1940 under the title Chrezvïchaynïy komissar (‘The Extraordinary Commissar’) and completed in 1947, when it received its definitive title. It deals with historical events of the Civil War period in the region of the northern Caucasus and with the role of the Communist Party in unifying the feuding peoples into a single nation. The hero of the opera, the ‘extraordinary commissar’, was modelled on Sergo Ordzhonikidze, Stalin’s Georgian compatriot and close revolutionary comrade, who died in 1937.

The political credentials of the composer and the opera were solid enough to persuade many Soviet theatres to mount productions timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the revolution. Although it received its première in Stalino, the most illustrious of the productions was unveiled on the actual date of the anniversary, ...

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