Sergei Prokofiev composed his opera on the play “Duenna” by the English dramatist Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816). It was in 1775, when Sheridan’s “Duenna” appeared with his father-in-law’s music. Thus the genre of the English Comical Opera acquired one more representative. The plot abounds with humorous witty scenes, sometimes giving place to lyrical apotheoses of amorous feelings.
Prokofiev was especially attracted by the love sphere, i. е. the poetical ground. Night carnival bustle at the Seville embankment, resigned nunnery. Hence the title “Betrothal in а Monastery” preferred by him. The main personage Duenna from Sheridan’s play acts, but on the background.
Prokofiev created libretto on the English original’s base, translating the texts himself. Mirra Mendelson (1915–1968) was the author of poetical insertions.
The opera was over in December, 1940. The premiere was supposed to be realized by the Moscow Stanislavsky Opera Theatre in Spring, 1941. Unfortunately, the perilous events of the Great Patriotic War impeded it. Prokofiev turned to heroic theme of the opera “War and Peace”.
Only on November 3, 1946 the people watched the opera called “Duenna” on the Кirov Opera and Ballet Theatre’s stage.