ALEXANDER MEDVEDEV (1927-2010)
Musicologist and librettist. Author of the libretto of The Passenger
Born on 9 July, 1927 in Moscow. In 1953 graduated from the Gnessin Institute where he studied History and Theory of Music. After earning a doctorate at the Leningrad Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography in 1961, he contributed to the periodicals Sovetskaya muzyka (1952–57) and Muzykalnaya Zhizn and published more than 10 books and hundreds of articles on classical music, opera and ballet theatre, folklore and jazz. For a long time he headed the music literature department at the Bolshoi Theatre (1963–68). Repeatedly he was Press Office Director of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. From 1972 on he served as chairman of the folklore commission in the RSFSR Association of Composers. Participant of folklore expeditions.
For decades, Alexander Medvedev worked with Shostakovich and Weinberg. This creative alliance yielded five Weinberg’s operas to Medvedev’s librettos (The Passenger, The Madonna and the Soldier, The Portrait, The Idiot), which nowadays have been mounted at the biggest opera festivals and stages worldwide, including Bregenz, London, Leeds, Madrid and Warsaw.
All his life Medvedev collected books and compiled a unique library of several thousand volumes. It included Russian and foreign classics, poetry, drama, and especially literature on philosophy, literary criticism, musicology, history and theory of theatre and cinema. After the death of Alexander Medvedev the biggest part of the library was transferred to the Higher School of Economics by his son, Professor of HSE Sergei Medvedev.
List of works:
Author of opera and ballet librettos, including the operas The Passenger (1968), The Madonna and the Soldier (1971), The Portrait (1980), The Idiot (1986) and Narodovoltsi by Bunin. He worked on the libretto to the opera The Black Monk by Krzysztof Penderecki.
Author/compiler of the books:
… Named after Tchaikovsky / Moscow, 1966; 1970;
The Soviet Jazz: Problems. Events. Masters / Moscow, 1987;
Our Bolshoi Theatre /Moscow, 1977.
Author of articles on the issues of Soviet music, classical and contemporary music, folk art.
Yuri Milyutin / Moscow, 1956;
The Bolshoi Theatre Violin Ensemble / Moscow, 1966.