Tchaikovsky – The Opera

Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Concepts / Keywords: Opera, Composition, Pop music, Polystylism, Gender in music, Sexuality, Ethnography, Sexual identity and homosexuality, Queer theory


Take A Walk On The Wild Side is a one-act pop opera based on the life of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The work will explore how Tchaikovsky’s life circumstances shaped his musical identity as an artist and a man living in a homophonic Russian society. Setting the opera in modern-day Russia will give contemporary audiences a look into current political and social attitudes towards these issues. Take A Walk On The Wild Side will further explore themes of sexuality in musical culture, society and homophobia, and the experiences of a homosexual man as a composer in Russia. The opera will focus on the young Tchaikovsky’s relationship with his mother, love, personal crises and depression, and Tchaikovsky’s imposed “court of honor” suicide as a censure of his homosexuality. The opera plot will be adapted from Tchaikovsky’s life and letters to family, friends, and colleagues. The libretto will be adapted from the original text of Tchaikovsky’s correspondences in Russian. The libretto will be translated to English with the aim to preserve as much authenticity and emotional weight of each letter. Compositionally, the score will include musical quotations and references to Tchaikovsky’s own music, which will be included in scenes where Tchaikovsky is writing music, this will enrich and enhance the opera’s intertextuality and will serve as a path into Tchaikovsky’s internal world and character. Adding quotations and references will support the context of place, and setting and add to the multiplexity of the opera.