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Music for Theater


“… I didn’t compose any opera. Imagine, it confuse me, as I like theatre very much… My passion to theatre is such, that if my thoughts weren’t engaged by music in its time, I would probably become an actor…”
Aram Khachaturian

As Khachaturian confessed, he was always interested in work in theatre and cinema. His first experience in this sphere relates to the time, when he even hadn’t entered the conservatory.
It happened due to his elder brother, composer Suren Ilich Khachaturian. Two studios worked at Culture House of Soviet Army in Moscow, and one of them (dramatic) was founded by Suren Khachaturian. After his death, the studio was headed by Rouben Simonov, and to his play devoted to 10-th anniversary of establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, Aram Khachaturian composed music. It was his first experience in music-theatre sphere. And further …
Aram Khachaturian composed a music to 20 dramatic plays, though as composer said, only saved the music in score, which was re-composed to suite for orchestra: “Masquerade” by Lermontov, “The Battle of Stalingrad” from known film V. Perov, and Lope de Vega’s “The Valencian Widow”. These compositions are the summit of music and theatre activity of Khachaturian. But their creation was preceded by long and saturated way.
In the beginning of 30-th, Khachaturian started to work at MAAT-2 (Moscow Arts Academic Theatre) on plays of Soviet authors on modern themes. In this way, he had the opportunity to directly communicate with a wide auditorium.
During these years, Khachaturian composed music to the following plays: “An Affair of Honor”, “Baku”, “The Big Day” etc.
Though, the theatre interests of Khachaturian in these years weren’t limited by scope of Soviet themes. Shakespeare’s themes (Shakespeareiana) occupied an essential place in his creative work. The composer was keen on Shakespeare. He composed the music to three of Shakespeare’s works: “King Lear” for Mossovet ‘s theatre (performance by Y. Zavadsky), “Otello” music to film (scenarist S. Yutkevich) and “Macbeth” to which he composed a music twice: for Maliy Theatre and National Theater named after Sundukian.