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Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofievby Simon Morrison
Synopses & Reviews
Serge Prokofiev was one of the twentieth centurys most brilliant composers yet is an enigma to historians and his fans. Why did he leave the West and move to the Soviet Union despite Stalins crimes? Why did his astonishing creativity in the 1930s soon dissolve into a far less inspiring output in his later years? The answers can finally be revealed, thanks to Simon Morrisons unique and unfettered access to the familys voluminous papers and his ability to reconstruct the tragic, riveting life of the composers wife, Lina.
Morrisons portrait of the marriage of Lina and Serge Prokofiev is the story of a remarkable woman who fought for survival in the face of unbearable betrayal and despair and of the irresistibly talented but heartlessly self-absorbed musician she married. Born to a Spanish father and Russian mother in Madrid at the end of the nineteenth century and raised in Brooklyn, Lina fell in love with a rising-star composer—and defied convention to be with him, courting public censure. She devoted her life to Serge and to art, training to be an operatic soprano and following her brilliant husband to Stalins Russia. Just as Serge found initial acclaim—before becoming constricted by the harsh doctrine of socialist-realist music—Lina was at first accepted and later scorned, ending her singing career. Serge abandoned her and took up with another woman. Finally, Lina was arrested and shipped off to the gulag in 1948. She would be held in captivity for eight awful years. Meanwhile, Serge found himself the tool of an evil regime to which he was forced to accommodate himself.
The contrast between Lina and Serge is one of strength and perseverance versus utter self-absorption, a remarkable human drama that draws on the forces of art, sacrifice, and the struggle against oppression. Readers will never forget the tragic drama of Linas life, and never listen to Serges music in quite the same way again.
"Born in 1897 into a family that was not exactly prosperous but had enough resources to travel around Europe and to New York, Lina inherited her father's deep love of music and her mother's courage, impetuosity, and strong commitment to various causes. Drawing on newly available materials from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art and the Serge Prokofiev Estate, music historian Morrison energetically and compellingly traces Lina's life from her childhood in Europe through her young adulthood in New York to her tempestuous marriage to the famed composer Serge Prokofiev, her time in the gulag, and her final years in the U.S. At one of his concerts in 1919, Lina met Serge and soon after they married. In their life together, Lina realized that her singing would take a backseat to his stage life, and her suffering commenced as her hopes for a music career were dashed. Later, Lina became an outspoken critic of the political regime, while Serge conformed. After he betrayed Lina and deserted her for another woman, her life fell apart quite quickly; held in captivity in prison camps from 1948 to 1956, Lina never regained her courage or energy, even after she decamped for the U.S. in 1974. Morrison powerful portrait reveals a haunting story of one woman's tragedy and one man's flaws. Agent, Will Lippincott, Lippincott, Massie, McQuilken." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The dramatic, untold story of Lina and Serge Prokofiev, a doomed love story and a shattering portrait of an artist.
The doomed love story of Lina Prokofiev, and the human cost of great art Simon Morrisons portrait of Lina and Serge Prokofiev is the story of a remarkable woman who fought for survival in the face of betrayal and despair, and the brilliant, self-absorbed artist she married. Born at the end of the 19th century and raised in Brooklyn, Lina fell in love with Serge and defied convention to be with him. She followed her genius husband to Stalins Russia, but her singing career ended and Serge abandoned her for another woman. Then, in November 1948, Lina was sent to the gulag. She was held in captivity for eight painful years. Meanwhile, Serge found himself the tool of a pitiless regime, to which he had to conform—even while producing some of the 20th centurys greatest musical works.
Lina and Serge is a remarkable human drama drawing on the forces of art, sacrifice, and the struggle against oppression. Readers will never forget the tragic and triumphant sweep of Linas life, and never again listen to Serges music without seeing the flawed man behind it.
About the Author
Simon Morrison is Professor of Music History at Princeton, where he earned his PhD in musicology. A leading authority on composer Serge Prokofiev, he is the author of The People's Artist, along with numerous scholarly articles, and features for the New York Times. In 2011, Morrison was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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