Moscow, 1958. A city in dire need of housing. Hopes turn to a new district with the felicitous name Tscherjomuschki, which can be loosely translated as »Little Cherry Tree«. Four couples believe the Soviet propaganda guaranteeing a wonderful new life there, and apply for flats in Tscherjomuschki: the tourist guide Bubenzow and his young wife Mascha; Boris and Lidotschka, newly acquainted and soon to fall in love; Lidotschka’s father Barbunow and Sergej, an old friend of Boris and chauffeur to the apparatchik Drebednjow, who, together with his wife, makes up the last of these couples in search of a new home. However, the supposedly wonderful new housing estate quickly turns out to be a grubby, sloppily built ghetto, a wilderness of cheerless tower blocks where corruption is the order of the day.
Disguised as a comedy, Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera lays bare the realities behind the Soviet policy of relocation that took place during the political thaw of the Khrushchev era. Carried along on a wave of captivating melody inspired by American musicals and classical operettas, the story mocks the authorities behind a veil of laughter.
Musical comedy in three acts Performed in German