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Funeral Games in Honor of Arthur Vincent Lourié$
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Klára Móricz and Simon Morrison

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199829446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199829446.001.0001

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Retrieving What Time Destroys

Retrieving What Time Destroys

The Palimpsest of Lourié’s The Blackamoor of Peter the Great

Chapter:
4 Retrieving What Time Destroys
Source:
Funeral Games in Honor of Arthur Vincent Lourié
Author(s):

Klára Móricz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199829446.003.0005

This chapter describes the complex cultural layering in Lourié’s post-Symbolist opera The Blackamoor of Peter the Greatas a palimpsest—in Olga Matich’s words, “a metaphor of storing suppressed cultural memory” and “a vision of history in which the past is hidden or veiled but never erased.” The chapter begins with a reconstruction of Lourié’s painful departure from Russia and parting with his onetime lover Anna Akhmatova before considering the explicit and implicit relationship between The Blackamoor of Peter the Great and Akhmatova’s eulogistic, semiautobiographical Poem Without a Hero.The chapter provides a line-by-line explication of the libretto of the opera, which combines the source Pushkin text with references to and borrowings from numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Russian and European writers. Móricz focuses her musical discussion on the balletic divertissement “The Birth of Eros” in act 1 and the final scene of the opera. Reference is also made to Lourié’s Zaklinaniya (Incantations), a collection of five miniatures to words by Akhmatova, and to the philosophy of Henri Bergson, whose conception of time finds reflection in the work of the Russian Symbolists.

Keywords:   Eros, Melancholia, palimpsest, Opera, Pushkin, Peter the Great

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