Nowadays we read certain works of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin in a completely different light from earlier interpretations. Never has the high school axiom ‘classical literature is always relevant’ had such resonance.
The Pushkin Club will show the relevance of Pushkin to modern times by referring to three of his works: the poem Анчар (The Upas Tree), the play Boris Godunov, but most of all the ‘Little Tragedy’, Mozart and Salieri, that wonderful psychological study of the destructive power of envy and the lengths to which it can drive a man of mere talent when faced with an individual whose genius can only have been a gift from God.
The Evening will be introduced by David Brummell. In his short illustrated talk he will explain the astonishing relevance of Pushkin in 2020.
Antony Wood, the joint translator with Peter France of Анчар (The Upas Tree), and Alla Gelich will read this poem in English and Russian.
This will be followed by a musical interlude, in which Nadia Giliova (piano) will play an arrangement of the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem.
There will then be a theatrical-style reading of a slightly shortened version of Mozart and Salieri in English by Lucy Daniels (a former Co-Chairman of the Pushkin Club) and Olegar Fedoro (an actor and film and theatre director), Lucy Daniels taking the part of Mozart and Olegar Fedoro that of Salieri.
The Evening will conclude with a recital by Alla Gelich of two excerpts from Mozart and Salieri in Russian.
The translation of Mozart and Salieri is by Antony Wood, the 2020 winner of the Read Russia translation prize for his volume Alexander Pushkin: Selected Poetry (published by Penguin Classics on 23 April 2020).