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Our new production this autumn is Prokofiev’s War and Peace, based on the epic novel by Tolstoy. With our intrepid cast of singers taking on multiple roles to tell the story, here’s our guide to who’s who among the main characters:
Our romantic leads are Andrei, son and heir of the Bolkonsky family, and Natasha, the bewitching daughter of the Count and Countess Rostov who Tolstoy conceived as the mainfestation of love, nature and femininity.
Their families comprise of Princess Marya Andrei’s sister, a plain young woman who sustains her lonely life by a strong Christian piety and Old Prince Bolkonsky, Andrei and Marya’s father. He is the descendant of an ancient and honourable family, now an old man, who clings to the values of an outdated feudal society. Count Rostov is Natasha’s father, a good-natured, and generous family man whose interest in maintaining his family's pleasures contributes to his financial ruin. We also meet Sonya, the Rostov's poor relation (Natasha’s cousin) who they raise with their own children.
Andrei’s best friend, Pierre, is the illegitimate son of an old Russian dignitary. Educated abroad, he returns to Russia as a misfit, however, the unexpected inheritance of a large fortune makes him socially desirable. He married Helene, a young woman from a great family but she was only attracted to his money and subsequently had affairs. She is beautiful and well regarded in high society but, in truth, dull. Anatole Kuragin, Helene’s brother, is a hedonist whose handsomeness attracts both Princess Marya, who he would like to marry for her fortune, and Natasha, who he all but seduces. Finally, we have Dolokhov, Anatole’s friend whose cruelty and bravery play a part in various incidents in the tale.
A host of other characters are also represented in the production, and the chart below will show you how they all fit into the story: