Composer Dmitri Schostakowitsch. Libretto by Dmitri Shostakovich, Yewgeni Ivanowich Samyatin and Alexander Preis, based on the eponymous short story by Nikolai Gogol.

Opera in three acts and an epilogue by Dmitri Shostakovich (1927/1928)

recommended for 16 years and older

In russian. With german and english surtitels. Premiere 24.10.2021.


A nose goes independent. It leaves an embarrassing empty space on its owner’s face, arrogates a social position for itself and struts in its State Councillor uniform along Nevsky Avenue in Saint Petersburg. Its tattered owner, Kovalyov, loses himself in a ludicrous search for his status symbol.

The 21-year-old Shostakovich’s first opera is a searing critique of post-Tsarist Russia, shaken by world war, bloody civil war and rising state terror. The image of a brutal society filled with physically and spiritually distorted moral cowards and perpetrators of violence is musically captured in the grotesque interchange of the most diverse style levels – circus music and Russian-orthodox church music, gallops, polkas, marches and fugues are intercut in filmic radicalism. Behind the caustic wit lurk fear and violence.