Operatic Adaptations of Some of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Great Novels

By David Salazar

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, born on Nov. 11, 1821, is one of the most influential writers of all time. His works, most famously “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov,” are best known for their psychological depth and some have gone so far as to call him one of the greatest psychologists of world literature.

An ardent Christian, his works have been translated into over 170 languages and adapted into many films. They have also received operatic adaptations. Here is a look at the most famous of these.

From the House of the Dead

Janacek’s final opera is also one of his most profound, the work taking a look at life in prison. Dostoyevsky’s novel was published in 1862, with the opera arriving in 1930 for its world premiere.

The Gambler

The author wrote this novel in 1867, and the work studies addiction, based off Dostoyevsky’s own obsession with roulette. Sergei Prokofiev adapted the work into an opera between 1914 and 1917, with the world premiere having to wait until 1929 in wake of the 1917 February Revolution.

The Idiot

Published in 1879, this work examines studies a man who is mistaken for lacking in intelligence simply because of his goodness and overall positive worldview. The work was adapted into a 20th century opera by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, with the world premiere coming at the National Theatre Mannheim on May 9, 2013. It was subsequently recorded.


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