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Episode 1

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 01 April 2013

Simon Morrison's new biography of Lina Prokofiev tells the story of the remarkable woman who married the brilliant composer Serge Prokofiev. Today, music and romance.

Lina Prokofiev's compelling story unfolds with the intrigue of a spy novel. Serge Prokofiev's glamorous wife fell madly in love with the brilliant composer while she was working as a secretary in Brooklyn where she lived with her Russian emigre parents. She soon followed him to Paris where his star continued to rise, and where they married and started a family. Their sophisticated lifestyle was irrevocably altered when Serge was lured back to Moscow in 1936 by false promises of artistic and personal freedom. After Serge and Lina's marriage crumbled, she fell foul of the worst excesses of Stalin's regime and ended up spending eight years in the Gulag.

Simon Morrison is Professor of Music History at Princeton. He is the author of The People's Artist, a definitive account of Prokofiev's career.

The reader is Sian Thomas. Abridged by Richard Hamilton. Produced by Elizabeth Allard
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  • Photographs

    The photographs of Lina Prokofiev are provided by The Prokofiev Estate.


Elizabeth Allard
Richard Hamilton


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