Giant tap-dancing noses star in this brilliantly surreal Shostakovich opera

19 June 2020, 15:15

By Rosie Pentreath

Shostakovich wrote a surreal opera about a nose just so we could all have our day improved by tap-dancing, life-sized body parts. And because opera is great.

Imagine waking up and your nose isn’t there. Gone. Puff, just like that.

That’s what Dmitri Shostakovich (after Russian writer Nikolai Gogol) did in his 1928 opera, The Nose.

Protagonist Kovalyov Yakovlevich wakes up to discover his nose is missing from his face, and embarks on the surreal journey of trying to find it.

Read more: This stunning video will challenge your preconceptions of ballet >

Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, follows a Kovalyov Yakolevich as he loses his nose and attempts to track it down.
Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, follows a Kovalyov Yakolevich as he loses his nose and attempts to track it down. Picture: Royal Opera / YouTube

Yakovlevich’s search for the missing nose takes him to the Chief of Police, the office of his local newspaper and the train station, where the nose tries to make a last-ditch attempt to escape.

In a recent production, Royal Opera has the nose multiplied into eight life-sized body-parts in one memorable tap-dancing scene (see above).

And it’s doing the rounds online. Goodness nose, it’s made our day.