Chekhov’s “The Seagull” and Thomas Pasatieri’s “The Seagull”

Elena M. Shabshayevich


The author of the article makes a study of how Anton Chekhov’s famous play “The Seagull” is interpreted in the opera
with the same by American composer Thomas Pasatieri based on the libretto of K. Elmsley (1972). The process of
adaptation of the plot from a classic of Russian literature to another genre and a different cultural tradition is analyzed.
The correlation between the text of the play and the libretto of the opera and the transformation of the images of
the main protagonists (Treplev, Arkadina, Nina, Trigorin) and the secondary characters (Dorn, Polina Andreyevna,
Masha) is demonstrated. Most notably, the mutual relations between the son and the mother, Treplev and Arkadina,
are interpreted with accentuation on psychoanalysis. The author touches upon the musical dramaturgy of the opera,
its architectonics, peculiarities of style, methods of musical characteristics and operatic forms. The conclusion is
arrived at that although American artists and composers bring out to the forefront those issues that are relevant to
their contemporary compatriots, they also perceive the absolute relevance of universal values, such as humanism, the
tragic nature of existence of the human being, the fatality of genuine feelings in the world permeated with cruelty, the
question of which was posed so acutely by Chekhov.

Keywords: Anton Chekhov, Chekhov’s play “The Seagull,” Thomas Pasatieri, K. Elmsley, American opera.

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