Sergei Prokofiev's Opera 'War And Peace' At 70
On October 16, 1944, Sergei Prokofiev's opera "War and Peace" debuted for a private audience with piano accompaniment at the Moscow Actors' Center. Prokofiev revised the opera at least a dozen times in an effort to win a seal of approval from the Soviet authorities, who demanded a clearly patriotic emphasis in the saga of the 1812 French invasion of Russia. During the revision process, which coincided with World War II, the opera became increasingly bombastic, adding nationalistic marches and choruses. The final version would not be performed at the prestigious Bolshoi Theater until six years after the deaths of both the composer and Stalin. In recent years, music historians have tried to recreate Prokofiev's earlier scores to revisit his original musical conception of the opera.