Anti-Putin director is shooting Tchaikovsky biopic

Anti-Putin director is shooting Tchaikovsky biopic


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2020

The distinguished Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, convicted recently in Moscow on politically-inspired embezzlement charges, is shooting a pilot for a television docu-drama on the life of Tchaikovsky.

Yevgeny Mironov gets to play the tormented composer.



  • I don’t think he will tell us the truth about the death of the genius but it could be intersiting. Leto was a very big critics success. There was also a movie I have never seen with Ricahrd Chamberlain at the end of the 60’s about Tchaikovsky by Ken Russell , the one who did the not very good biopic about Mahler.

    • citicrab says:

      Actually I think he may. He’s been fearless, and after the just-finished ordeal, telling anything but the truth will be seen as making up with the regime. Of course, an honest story will not be accepted by any major TV channel in Russia. An interesting conundrum.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        In Russia, Tchaikowsky’s music is a national treasure. I doubt that Russian TV would send a movie showing the artist behind a national treasure as a child molester.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      Well, what is the truth? Does anyone really know for certain why or how he died? Even among Tchaikovsky biographers who allegedly spent a great deal of time studying this matter, there is no agreement.

      • You are right we will never know but there’s something sure the death of Tchaikowsly is for me connected to the 6th Symphony a masterpice you keep for all your life

      • Balancement says:

        Alexander Poznansky’s book from Oxford University Press, ‘Tchaikovsky’s Last Days: A Documentary Study’ is a painstakingly researched work, pretty much putting to rest all the myths and rumors and hearsay surrounding his death, and concludes—as disappointing as it may be to all the sensationalists and conspiracy-theorists out there—that Tchaikovsky died from the effects of cholera.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Russell’s Tchaikovsky film, with Glenda Jackson as his wife, is best described in a single adjective: lurid.

    • John Borstlap says:

      In reality, Tchaikovsky died when he cut roses from his garden for his new love interest, and was pricked by a thorn.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Who is conducting the sound-track? Pletnev? Levine?

  • fflambeau says:

    A truly great composer who deserves more recognition. I rank him this way among the pantheon of musical gods: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky.

    His choral and church music is outstanding and pretty much unknown in the West. His music for The Liturgy of St. John Chrysotom is just outstanding (one video at YouTube alone has over 10,000,000 views).

    I also love his adulation of Mozart and his great musical tribute to him.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      About The Liturgy of St. John Chrysotom: those 10,000,000 views are not motivated by Tchaikowsky’s music – the public’s drive is purely devotional.

  • Robin Elliott says:

    The Serebrennikov film has quite a backstory, outlined by Philip Ross Bullock in “‘That’s Not the Only Reason We Love Him’: Tchaikovskii Reception in Post-Soviet Russia,” Slavic Review 77/1 (Spring 2018): 53–76.