Musical tells Rachmaninoff's story

Reeling from terrible reviews for his first symphony, the Russian composer turned to a psychotherapist. The tale unfolds on stage at Theater Above.

A Chinese musical version of “Rachmaninoff” will be staged at Shanghai’s Theater Above from Tuesday to Sunday.

It tells the story of how Russian-born composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote his famous “Piano Concerto No. 2.”

In 1897, he was was wounded by overwhelmingly negative reviews of his “Symphony No. 1.” He stopped working until he met a psychotherapist who helped him regain his self-confidence. In 1900, Rachmaninoff dedicated his masterpiece to the doctor.

“For the public, Rachmaninoff might be a new, unfamiliar name, but he was an important milestone in classical music,” said Fei Yuanhong, vice general manger of Shanghai Culture Square and the musical’s artistic director. “Classical music is sometimes hard to get, and what we are doing is to make it easier to be accepted by ordinary people.”

The creative team did not turn any of Rachmaninoff’s music into pop, but made it “smaller” by presenting the pieces with six strings and a piano rather than an orchestra.

Classical music dominates the show, mostly by Rachmaninoff, including his first three piano concertos as well as “Symphony No. 1.”

It also features “Swan Lake,” “Barcarolle (June)” and “Nocturne” by Tchaikovsky, his teacher. In some scenes, there are little pieces of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven. 

Performance details

Date: Through May 19, 7:30pm
Tickets: 80-280 yuan
Venue: Theater Above
Address: 5/F, 1111 Zhaojiabang Rd

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