The Royal Opera's Christmas treat opens next week, and it is The Tsarina's Slippers by Tchaikovsky. Never heard of it? Nor had many others, at least not here. Tchaikovsky isn't usually thought of as a creator of comedy...Here is my article from today's Independent which explains that we often see only the tip of the Tchaikovskian iceberg.
The opera, by the way, doesn't 'shed light on his gay lifestyle' - it has nothing to do with it. There's a book out too, which explains that reference, and it is a big, serious biography by Roland John Wiley, which contains some revelations and some good old-fashioned common sense. Michael Church has reviewed it more fully, here. Fascinating stuff, all of it, and I hope there is still time to squeeze into the opera, which is nearly sold out.
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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