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El Lissitzky's poster for a post-revolutionary production of the opera. The caption reads: All is well that begins well and has no end.

Victory over the Sun (Russian: Победа над Cолнцем, Pobeda nad Solntsem) is a Russian Futurist opera premiered in 1913 at the Luna Park in Saint Petersburg.

The libretto written in zaum language was contributed by Aleksei Kruchonykh, the music was written by Mikhail Matyushin, the prologue was added by Velimir Khlebnikov, and the stage designer was Kasimir Malevich. The performance was organized by the artistic group Soyuz Molodyozhi. The opera has become famous as the event where Malevich made his first "Black Square" painting (in 1915).

The opera was intended to underline parallels between literary text, musical score, and the art of painting, and featured a cast of such extravagant characters as Nero and Caligula in the Same Person, Traveller through All the Ages, Telephone Talker, The New Ones, etc.

The audience reacted negatively and even violently to the performance, as have some subsequent critics and historians.[1]

A documentary film about the opera was made in 1980.[2]


Victory Over the Sun // Ed. Patricia Railing, translator Evgeny Steiner. London: Artists.Bookworks, 2009. 2 vols. ISBN 978-0-946311-19-4

Further reading[edit]

Victory Over the Sun: The World's First Futurist Opera (original Russian libretto, musical score, translation, critical and historical essays) // Ed. Rosamund Bartlett and Sarah Dadswell. University of Exeter Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-85989-839-3

"Anfang Gut, Alles Gut - Actualizations of the Futurist Opera Victory Over the Sun 1913", ed. by Eva Birkenstock, Kerstin Stakemier, Nina Köller. Contributors: Roger Behrens, Devin Fore, Anke Hennig, Oliver Jelinski, Christiane Ketteler, Avigail Moss, Nikolai Punin, Marina Vishmidt. Kunsthaus Bregenz; Bilingual edition (March 31, 2013). ISBN 978-3863351441


  1. ^ Isobel Hunter (1999-07-12). "Zaum and Sun: The 'first Futurist opera' revisited". Central Europe Review. 3 (1). Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Victory Over the Sun: A Futuristic Opera". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 

External links[edit]