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Opera

Three Sisters

Approximate running time

THREE SISTERS,  UNCOVERING THE VEILED IRONIES OF LIFE

Three Sisters is one of dramaturge and author Anton Chekov's masterpieces. It was written at a time when the author himself was suffering a great deal from his failing health. The story is loosely based on the lives of three Brontë sisters. The play was adapted for presentation on stage by Constantin Stanislavski in 1901.
In recent times Péter Eötvös adapted the play for an opera production in 1996 - 97. Péter Eötvös received much acclaim for his musical talent and technical ability, including, BBC Music Magazine's Award for 'Technical excellence in recording' in 2006.

HISTORY

The story revolves around the lives of three Prozorova sisters, Olga, Maria and Irina. Olga is the eldest of the three and a spinster. She is tender-hearted. Olga takes up the position of headmistress. She is accompanied by her old nurse Anfisa. Maria, the middle sister married her husband Kulygin just out of school. But that marital communion seems to be drudgery for her.
She falls for Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin and is crushed when Vershinin is transferred. She returns to her husband, who accepts her back into his life. Maria is a trained concert pianist. Irina, the youngest sister, still retains her youthful innocence. She becomes engaged to marry Baron Tuzenbach even though she does not love him. But with Baron's death the marriage never takes place. Irina dedicates her life to her professional and philanthropic work.

Act 1

The first act opens with Olga being a school mistress. It touches the topic of the discordant marriage between Marian and Kulygin. On the contrary, Irina seems to be full of enthusiasm and expectancy. Andrei, the brother to three Prozorova sisters, falls in love with Natasha and proposes her to marry him.

Act 2

Act 2 explores the unhappiness and emptiness felt by Maria and Natasha in their own lives. Both become involved in affairs outside their respective marriages with Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin and Protopopov respectively.

Act 3

Natasha slowly positions herself as the mistress of the Prozorova house. Andrei, her husband, mortgages the family home to pay off the debt incurred in gambling. Olga and her matronly nurse Anfisa are insulted by Natasha. Olga persuades Irina to accept Tuzenbach's proposal of marriage. Andrei begs forgiveness from his sisters about his wife's behaviour and his blindness about Natasha's real character.

Act 4

Tuzenbach dies in a duel. Olga plans to move out of the family home with Anfisa. Maria returns to her husband. Natasha remains at the house with Andrei and children where she is in charge of everything. The three Prozorova sisters try to find greener pastures for themselves out of the confusion and pain they are subjected to so far in their lives.

THE MAIN ROLES

Olga Prozorova
Maria Kulygina
Irina Prozorova
Andrei Prozorov
Natalia Ivanovna (Natasha)
Fyodor Ilyich Kulygin

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