Love in the time of dictatorship of the proletariat
“Doctor Zhivago” is one of the most beautiful love stories in the world literature. The musical follows the life and loves of Yuri Zhivago, doctor and poet, in the years preceding World War I, through the February and October Revolutions, the ensuing civil war and emergence of the Soviet Union. This makes the work a perfect educational experience for the youth, introducing them to and helping to understand the history of the changes in 20th century Russia.
Boris Pasternak’s banned book
Musical is based on Boris Pasternak’s novel, which had for many years been banned in Soviet Russia. The book’s typescript was smuggled out of the Soviet Union and first published in Italy. The western world immediately acknowledged the beauty and captivating power of the work, awarding Pasternak with the Nobel Prize in Literature, which the author—intimidated by communist smear campaigns—never picked up.
History on stage
The production clearly refers to the original setting of the novel. The monumental set design reflects the fall of tsardom and the birth of the Soviet super-state, while the turmoil of war is realistically and atmospherically conveyed by creatively choreographed group battle scenes. The sumptuous visual layer of the musical is backed with a complex score, where the attentive ear will discern echoes of classical pieces by 20th-century Russian composers. The libretto was directly inspired by the poetic pendant to “Doctor Zhivago,” containing 25 poems by Boris Pasternak. The production is also informed by David Lean’s Oscar-winning Hollywood adaptation of the novel.