A prince has lapsed into profound melancholy, and only a good laugh can cure him in Sergei Prokofiev's surrealistic fairytale, The Love of Three Oranges. Inspired by an Italian fable, the work was written by the composer in his native Russian and first performed in French at the Chicago Opera.
"I am a classicist," Prokofiev declared to interviewer Ben Hecht at the opera's 1921 premiere, "I derive from the classical composers." Hecht correctly predicted that the critics would question that assertion (and added, "I would rather see and listen to his opera than to the entire repertoire of the company put together"). With its satire of traditional operatic forms, The Love of Three Oranges was universally perceived as a modernist statement. The composer's daring and skillful combination of humor, sorrow, fantasy, and grotesquery makes this work a perennial favorite of audiences and performers. This complete vocal score, which includes both Russian and French text and a piano reduction of the orchestral part, is an indispensable resource for both recital and rehearsal purposes.