Prokofiev's War and Peace - 'original' 1942 version

Research output: Performances, compositions and other non-textual formsPerformance



This performance of Prokofiev’s War and Peace shared new insights into Prokofiev’s original vision for his opera of Tolstoy’s novel, and was based on McAllister’s new performing version, which is included in the portfolio of evidence.

War and Peace was reworked many times by Prokofiev between the first version (submitted, complete, as a piano score to the Committee on Arts Affairs in spring 1942) and his death in 1953, when it was left unfinished. Most of the alterations were made at the behest of the Soviet authorities, who demanded greater spectacle and monumentality. The result was that the first version was progressively supplemented and extended, often with large chorus scenes.

In recreating the first version of War and Peace, McAllister drew, with permission from the Prokofiev estate and Boosey and Hawkes, on the final published full score (which included most of the original version, in addition to the later accretions) and the manuscript piano score of the 1942 version, removing the later material and completing the orchestration for passages from the first version that were to be reinstated. A small number of lacunae were identified and McAllister composed and orchestrated linking passages to close these.

This version of War and Peace was mounted in a joint production between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Opera, and the Rostov State Rachmaninov Conservatoire, with performances in Glasgow (Theatre Royal) Edinburgh (Festival Theatre) and Rostov (Rostov State Musical Theatre). The performances garned significant attention in the international press.


Original languageRussian
Publication statusPublished or Performed - Jan 2010