Lost and found: Prokofiev’s score for Eugene Onegin

Prokofiev’s lost score

Princeton music scholar Simon Morrison found Sergei Prokofiev’s lost score for a banned production of the Russian classic Eugene Onegin. (Image courtesy of Sergei
Prokofiev Estate)

A banned adaptation of an important novel-in-verse. A lost score with 44 parts. A wait of nearly 80 years. These are the challenging elements that came together for Princeton’s staging of the classic Russian tale Eugene Onegin. Simon Morrison, a professor of music, rediscovered composer Sergei Prokofiev’s lost score for the production in a Russian archive. The score was intended as incidental music for a stage adaptation by Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky of Alexander Pushkin’s novel-in-verse. The stage production was halted and banned in 1936 by Josef Stalin’s Soviet regime. Morrison worked with other faculty members to bring the score to life at a four-day musical conference held at Princeton in February 2012. The productions included a symphony performance of the music by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and a theatrical performance of Krzhizhanovsky’s play. Morrison also worked with Caryl Emerson, the A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Tim Vasen, a lecturer and acting director of the Program in Theater, to stage the project as well as use the text and music for academic purposes.