chapter  8
10 Pages

Elaboration of the idea of sound-visual counterpoint in the film Alexander Nevsky.

The second half of the 1930s was marked by two outstanding events in the history of Soviet film music. One of them was the appearance of film opera, the other was the creation of Alexander Nevsky.

In 1936, the Ukrainian film director Ivan Kavaleridze released the first film-opera in the Soviet cinema. It was a screen version of the classical Ukrainian opera written by Lysenko, Natalka Poltavka. Two years later this was followed by the opera of Gulak-Artemovsky, The Zaporozhets beyond the Danube, filmed by the same director. It is interesting that, although both the operas were then in the repertoire of the Kiev Opera and Ballet Theatre, the film director rejected the simple method of recording the already staged performances, for he did not wish to act as 'a technical go-between' for the opera and the audience. On the contrary, Kavaleridze wanted to make his own cinematographic interpretation of a musical work. The presence of spoken dialogues in both operas made their adaptation to the screen easier, and helped him achieve a smooth modulation from an ordinary feature film with characteristic everyday reality to the rather conventional imaginative world of the opera.