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With his first opera The Nose, youngblood Shostakovich produced a work typical of the Roaring Twenties, shortly after Krenek’s Jonny spielt auf and almost simultaneously with Weill’s Threepenny Opera. Inspired by Gogol’s sardonically absurd, socially critical story, Shostakovich composed spirited, lighthearted music in 16 short, consecutive scenes. Yet all of its various styles – circus music, galopp, polka, Russian Orthodox melody, folk tunes (there are four balalaikas in the orchestra) – became material for an annihilating critique of Russian society, still hierarchical and obsessed with authoritarianism 70 years after Gogol’s death.