Alexander Waugh

Bittersweet Symphony

The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev

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Harvill Secker 336pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Sergey Prokofiev: Diaries 1924–1933 – Prodigal Son

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Faber & Faber 1125pp £30 order from our bookshop

Lina Codina, a Spanish coloratura soprano (born in Madrid, brought up in Brooklyn, trained in Paris and Milan), married Sergey Prokofiev at Ettal in Germany on 8 October 1923. It was not a perfect match. Prokofiev was cold, self-obsessed, bad-tempered and not much in love. He had been dating her for several years and had made it clear he was in no hurry to be married. He disliked her singing, tried to avoid accompanying her in concerts and never made any effort to secure her parts in his operas. At their wedding she was six months pregnant. Lina’s mother thought him a cad. 

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