excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 11 March 1913' pp. 342 (435 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 11 March 1913' pp. 342 (435 words)

part of

Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 11 March 1913

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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342

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Home for dinner, after which I put on my dinner suit, took a car and went to pick up Umnenkaya*. For some years now we have had a season ticket for Wagner's Ring, two stalls seats in the fifteenth row. I have grown tired of it over the last few years, so Mama and I have been in the habit of not taking up our seats but passing them on to others. But this time I decided to make use of ours for Umnenkaya, and a week ago proposed our going together to Die Walküre today. Umnenkaya had agreed, and so at seven minutes to eight I was ringing the bell at her door. She had worried that I would not come and regretted that I was so late: she was on her own and had thought we could sit quietly and talk. She was looking wonderful all snuggled up in her furs as we descended the fantastic staircase of No. 60 Offitserskaya Street. 'Carrr!' ordered the freshly tipped doorman, darting out on to the street, and we rolled happily away to the theatre. We barely had time to leave our coats and go into the auditorium before the lights dimmed and The Valkyrie began.

While recognizing Wagner's genius I never cease to be amazed at the sheer quantity of unnecessary music that dilutes the episodes of pure genius. Listening to Wagner is indissolubly linked in my mind with a sensation of incredible, black boredom. If half of it were to be cut and the opera ruthlessly pruned, the result would be an incontrovertible masterpiece. It was a long time since I had heard a performance of Valkyrie, and this evening I listened with genuine pleasure, the best being, as before, the second part of Act II. The sound of Hunding's horn offstage sent me into ecstasies. As for the tedious bits they were greatly relieved by the presence of such a charming companion as Lidochka. At the end of the first act I said to her, 'There you are, Lidochka, that is the way in which, five years from now, I shall arrive on the doorstep and wrest you away from your future husband . . .'

Silence.

'Agreed?'

'Agreed.'

'Make sure you have the sword ready for me!'

The whole evening went by in the pleasantest manner. I was walking home with her, when she said, 'What gave you the happy idea of taking me to Valkyrie?'

I replied that she had declined so many of my happy ideas that I had almost decided not to invite her to Valkyrie.

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excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 11 March 1913' pp. 342 (435 words)

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