Set in St Petersburg, Dmitri Shostakovich's satirical opera The Nose received its premier in 1930. Based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, its absurdist plot revolves around the exploits of a pompous government official and his nose. After a visit to the barber, the nose absconds from the man's face and takes on a life of its own; the pretentious bureaucrat is reduced to desperation, frantically searching the city for his lost appendage. Although primarily a comic opera, The Nose touches on the struggle between the individual and society - here portrayed by a cast of over 80 characters - and its spiky score is a 1920s modernist masterpiece from the prodigiously talented composer.
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