Russia-based Italian Musician Recounts Dostoevsky's Influence On Childhood, Local Culture

Russia-based Italian Musician Recounts Dostoevsky's Influence on Childhood, Local Culture

ST. PETERSBURG (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th November, 2021) On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of iconic Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, one well-known Italian musician shared with Sputnik how the novelist impacted his youth and culture.

"Dostoevsky has been present in my life since a surprisingly early age," Fabio Mastrangelo, renowned conductor and Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Music Hall, said. "I still remember the book cover, illustrated with a colored drawing of 'Povera Gente' (Poor Folk). The vividness of the image exercised a sort of sinister attraction for me - especially considering that I must have been 9 or 10 years old."

His parents' bookshelf was far from the only one to tout Dostoevsky titles, Mastrangelo explained, indeed it was a common sight at that time thanks to a hit televised adaptation of the Brothers Karamazov.

"I recall a legendary tv series by director Sandro Bolchi in 1969 and broadcast once a week on RAI 1 channel," Mastrangelo said. "My mother was a big fan of it and not too long ago I learned that it was a huge success, reaching a record rating of 15 million viewers. In fact, the book enjoyed a big surge of sales throughout Italy."

The maestro went on to describe an affinity with Dostoevsky even in his musical life, given the Russian novelist always gave special mind to the place of classical music in his writing.

"What makes the figure of Dostoevsky closest to me is his avid interest towards classical music; Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini and, of course, (Mikhail) Glinka and especially his A Life for the Tsar," the maestro concluded.

During his lifetime, Dostoevsky's path crossed with Glinka's on several pivotal occasions, with the writer repeatedly moved by musical performances of the latter's creation, similarly to how Mastrangelo would be inspired by both their works nearly 200 years later.

Dostoevsky stands shoulder to shoulder with Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov as icons of Russian prose to the global readership. His novels, such as Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, among many others, are classics of world literature. Born in Moscow on November 11, 1821, Dostoevsky would live a harrowing life that would take him from St. Petersburg high societies to Siberian prison camps to casinos in southern Europe.

His works have been translated to over 170 languages and adapted into a wide variety of films, teleplays, operas, and inspired numerous subsequent writers and philosophers.