The Nose

An absurd little story about a nose on the move

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About the event

When Shostakovich released his debut opera into the world at the tender age of 20, his brilliance was plain as the nose on his face. He used every musical trick in the book (and quite a few that weren’t) to tell this amusing tale: here a raucous percussion ensemble, here a maniacal gallop, there a lyrical chorus. This eclectic parade of styles put a few noses out of joint, but sniff as they might, not even the establishment could deny that here was a virtuoso at work. The frenetic score springs entirely from the action on stage, as a lowly official chases his gallivanting nose around town. It’s a zany, hyperactive cabaret with more than 80 named parts (including the nose itself). Who better to direct than the outrageously inventive Barrie Kosky, the Australian director of Berlin’s Komische Oper? Reviewers called this co-production with the Royal Opera House “terrifically realised, brilliantly inventive and highly entertaining” (The Spectator). Andrea Molino conducts a massive cast including Martin Winkler, John Tomlinson and Alexander Lewis. They perform in English in a new translation by David Pountney. An absurd little story about a nose on the move Met a precocious composer with something to prove There resulted an opera that bursts with ideas The critics were shocked: an assault on the ears! But the audience sniggered, guffawed and then gasped At the clowning, the slapstick, the flatulant brass Exuberant music with theatre to match A nose on the run is a hard thing to catch So go dizzy, go wild, have a marvellous night At an opera that’s fizzy and busy and bright