Three Famous Plays

Three Famous Plays

Three Famous Plays

Three Famous Plays

Excerpt

Turgenev was born in 1818 and he wrote his best play, A Month in the Country, about a hundred years ago. Thirty years later, in 1879, it achieved a triumphant success in St. Petersburg. The play was revived early in this century by the Moscow Art Theatre and has appeared several times on the English stage, and also on the radio. Some knowledge of Turgenev's personal life helps considerably in understanding his work.

Turgenev's mother was a despotic and tyrannical woman whose cruel treatment of her house serfs revolted her son. During her lifetime she tried to tyrannise over both Turgenev and his brother, and she frequently cut off his allowance when he was living abroad. It was, however, with a woman of the same type that he was destined to fall in love. She appears as Maria Polozov in The Torrents of Spring, and as Natalya Petrovna in A Month in the Country, which is written from personal experience as well as a knowledge of the theatre in France, Italy, Germany and England. For the greater part of his life, Turgenev played the part of cavaliere servente in the household of Monsieur and Madame Viardot. He was its Rakitin.

Pauline Garcia-Viardot came of a famous family of singers and actors and was a Spanish gipsy by blood. Her sister was one of the most famous operatic singers of the century, Malibran, her father the great Garcia, her mother Joaquina Litchez, a famous actress.

Pauline travelled half-way round the world while she was a child: one of her most vivid memories was of the Mexican . . .

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