It took Prokofiev seven years to compose The Fiery Angel, an opera based on a novel by Brioussov. Between January 1920 and June 1927, the composer’s mind was completely focused on this new work. Despite many failed attempts, Prokofiev only heard extracts from the second act in a concert version given on 14 June 1928 (the opera was staged in Paris in November 1954, one year after Prokofiev’s death). As soon as April 1928, Prokofiev decided to draw a symphonic suite basically conceived as a paraphrase, but which quickly turned into a four-movement symphony; this is how the Third Symphony was born. Another project linked to The Fiery Angel failed. In 1923, without any prospect to stage the first version of the opera, Prokofiev decided to draw a vocal suite and thus to change the morphology of the opera in order to make it more appropriate for the concert. Absent from the official catalogue of the composer’s works, this unfinished suite has never been the subject of any research until now, and it is at best briefly mentioned in the musicological writings devoted to Prokofiev. Exiled in the United Sates, why did he show any interest in Brioussov’s novel? How did he conceive his suite? What cuts did he have to make in the libretto? What problems did he face? These questions deserve to be answered.
Le livret en question
Université de Tours
La Suite vocale d'après l'Ange de feu de Serge Prokofiev