Specially written for Gergiev on the occasion of his 60th birthday, Rodion Shchedrin's The Left-Hander is a comedy of Russians and Englishmen, new technology, old traditions, and strong drink. The premiere was given by the Mariinsky Opera in St Petersburg in July 2013. Rodion Shchedrin is one of music's greatest living humourists, and his work is laced with pitch-black irony and deadpan wit. Based on Nikolai Leskov's classical satirical novella of 1881, The Tale of Cross-Eyed Lefty From Tula and the Steel Flea, The Left-Hander is a gloriously wry exploration of Russia's relationship with the West in general and England in particular.
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