The story of the real man

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Work data
Title: The story of the real man
Original title: Повесть о настоящем человеке
(Powest o nastojashschem tscheloweke)
Original language: Russian
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
Libretto : Mira Mendelson and Sergei Prokofjew
Literary source: The story of the real man by Boris Polewoi
Premiere: December 3, 1948
Place of premiere: Kirov Theater , Leningrad

The story of a true man (also The story of a true man , tale of a true man in Russian Повесть о настоящем человеке ) is an opera (opus 117) in three acts by Sergei Prokofjew .

The libretto was written by Mira Mendelson and the composer based on the novel of the same name by Boris Polewoi (German translation The True Man ), which traces the life of the Soviet fighter pilot Alexei Petrovich Maressjew .

The first performance of the opera took place on December 3, 1948 in concert in a single closed performance in the Kirov Theater in Leningrad . The scenic premiere took place on October 7, 1960 in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow under the direction of Mark Ermler .

Prokofiev's last opera was (alongside Semjon Kotko from 1944) a play with a markedly political character; it was created under the impression of the end of the Second World War . The opera is based on the story by Pravda correspondent Boris Polewoj, which is about the war-disabled aviator Alexei who heroically returns to heaven. Prokofiev wrote in 1947: "This story is my most intense literary experience of recent times"; it was the contemporary subject the composer had been looking for for a long time. The composer worked with his wife Mira on the libretto; this included the search for interesting and concise scenic solutions. With pictures reminiscent of cinema chronicles, which unexpectedly replace each other and stand in mutual contrast, Prokofiev enriched the work with dramaturgical shifts, through "scenic fades." February 1948: "I tried to be as melodic as possible with the opera, tried to make the melodies as understandable as possible." In fact, the style of the opera was simpler and less complicated; the sharpness and tartness typical of Prokofiev had almost disappeared.


  • Abram Gosenpud: Kratki operny slowar . Musytschna Ukraina, Kiev 1986, p. 163 (Russian)

Individual evidence

  1. Abram Gosenpud: The Story of a Real Man. In: January 12, 2011 (Russian).;
  2. Other sources cite October 8, 1960 a. a. Chronological List of Works. (PDF) In: Sergei Prokofiev. Sikorski , February 13, 2013, p. 69 (English).;
  3. a b Natalja Sawkina: The story about a true person . In: Hermann Danuser, Juri Cholopow, Michail Tarakanow (Ed.): Internationales Musikfestival. Sergei Prokofiev and contemporary music from the Soviet Union . Laaber, Duisburg 1990, ISBN 3-89007-227-5 , p. 180 .
  4. ^ Reports and Information - Volume 18, 1963, page 82