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War and Peace

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Sergei Prokoviev


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About the opera War and Peace

War and Peace (Op. 91) (Russian: Война и мир, Voyna i mir) is an opera in two parts (an Epigraph and thirteen scenes), sometimes arranged as five acts, by Sergei Prokofiev to a Russian libretto by the composer and Mira Mendelson, based on the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Although Tolstoy's work is classified as a novel, the 1812 invasion of Russia by the French was based on real-life events, and some real-life people appear as characters in both the novel and the opera, e.g. Prince Mikhail Kutuzov and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Mendelson and Prokofiev's original scheme for the libretto of the opera envisaged eleven scenes, and Prokofiev began composing the music in the summer of 1942, spurred on by the German invasion of the Soviet Union which began on June 22, 1941. The description "lyric-dramatic scenes" in the libretto accurately suggests both a homage to Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and an emphasis on individuals and their emotions rather than on the bigger picture of a country at war.
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Roles in War and Peace

Natalya Rostov Soprano
Count Pyotr Bezukhov Tenor
Prince Andrei Bolkonsky Baritone
Field-Marshal Prince Mikhail Kutuzov Bass
Napoleon Bonaparte Baritone
Count Ilya Rostov Bass
Hélène Bezukhova Mezzo-Soprano
Prince Anatole Kuragin Tenor

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