Let’s see. A person’s nose could be out of joint.
Wedged into someone else’s business.
Or held steadily to the grindstone.
Those situations all sound unpleasant. But they’re nothing compared with the woes of Kovalyov, a petty Russian bureaucrat in Russia who goes to the barber and winds up losing his olfactory organ.
“Oh, yes, ‘The Nose’ is coming,” music-lover Jeannette Garber of Wilkes-Barre said, sounding positively gleeful about the Metropolitan Opera performance of Dimitri Shostakovich’s absurdist opera that will be screened on Saturday at Movies 14 in downtown Wilkes-Barre and at Cinemark in Moosic.
Composer Shostakovich’s music is always a treat, said Garber, who played the viola in one of his symphonies years ago when she was a student at Carleton College in Minnesota.
“I love his music,” she said. “I do remember it as very beautiful.”
And the plot sounds like fun, she added with a chuckle.
Based on a Gogol story, the opera introduces us to Kovalyov’s barber, horrified to find a human nose in the bread his wife just baked, and to his wife — a bit of a nag — who orders him to get rid of it. The barber throws the nose into a river and is arrested.
Kovalyov eventually visits a cathedral and finds his nose, now grown to the size of a human being, dressed as an official who happens to outrank him.
Naturally, the nose … um … looks down its nose at its former owner.
Kovalyov seeks help from a newspaper and from the police, and the latter do chase the nose to a train station, where it is trying to leave town.
Eventually, Kovalyov ends up with his nose back in its proper place and, oddly enough, returns to his barber for another shave. How’s that for a second chance?
If you haven’t taken in an opera yet, Garber urges you to sample one from the Metropolitan Opera series that comes to the local big screens.
“It’s a fantastic experience,” she said, “just to be there and hear the beautiful music and singers.”