Why did the Soviet government censor the opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” by Shostakovich?

By Sunil Kumar

Some of the reasons this opera was banned include; in-your-face sexuality that was perceived by the Soviet authorities as vulgar and anarchic; that would lead to disruption in society.

Success abroad was termed by communist ideologues in 1936 as “tickling the perverted taste of the bourgeoisie with its fidgety, screaming neurotic music”.

After the Communist Revolution in 1917 Russia; social realism in cinema meant depicting the success and struggles of the proletariat; or the working class; the “perceived” heroes of socialist ideology. Indian cinema of the 50s and the 60s right upto the present day has some of that; albeit in a uniquely local context.

Also; according to some Western analysts; Stalin saw himself in the character of Boris or the minor figure of a Tsarist police chief who arrests people randomly on account of their beliefs.

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