Summary #1Lina Prokofiev (title)

A word from the editor (NoŽlle Mann)

Sviatoslav Prokofiev, Valery Gergiev, Sir Edward Downes

"An Incredible country": Prokofiev and America. (Harlow Robinson)
Prokofiev in St Petersburg.
(Larissa Danko)
The inexorable journey towards France (NoŽlle Mann)
Listening to Prokofiev: memories from a Soviet classroom.
(Marina Frolova-Walker)
Back in the USSR (Natalia Savkina)

Lina Prokofiev. (Lady Joan Downes)
Oleg Prokofiev: traces left behind. (Frances Prokofiev)
About the Prokofiev family
(NoŽlle Mann)
Little-known facts about people close to Prokofiev. (Sviatoslav Prokofiev)

A friendship in Terioki.
(Serge Prokofiev Jr.)

Live and on disc: the last decade of Prokofiev performances. (David Nice)

Getting it right!

Boosey & Hawkes.

Sir Edward Downes: a life in music
. (NoŽlle Mann)

Lady Joan Downes

   I first met Mrs Prokofiev in January 1975 when she arrived in Greenwich to visit her second son Oleg, his new wife Frances and their newly born son Gabriel. Oleg’s daughter Anastasia, by his second wife, Camilla Gray, went to school with our daughter Boudicca - they were both four years old.
   Mrs Prokofiev and Oleg were to come to supper at our house while Frances was in hospital, but Oleg was ill and Mrs Prokofiev came on her own. It was the first time she sat at our kitchen table - something she was to do on hundreds of occasions over the next fifteen years - in fact she became part of our family. She asked me to call her Lina, but I did not feel quite happy with that so we agreed on Mrs P., which was the way in which she announced herself on the telephone. After some weeks with Oleg and Frances, Mrs P. moved to Maida Vale to live with an old friend and I packed her belongings for the first of many times and drove her to her new home. This was when she revealed to me the first piece of the complicated jigsaw that was her life. As I packed her clothes, she gave to me a stiff collar which she told me was Sergei’s, which she took with her everywhere. There was also a piece of paper which she explained was an official document exonerating her from the crimes against the state for which she was imprisoned, when she spent what she referred to as her “time in the North”. She also told me that day that she had never been divorced and that even though Sergei was living with Mira Mendelson he had tried to have her freed from the camp. During the eight years she was in the camp she shared a cell with a dancer with whom she did a “barre” every day. She said that the discipline of this kept her ready for her hoped-for release.
   From then on every week I gave a day to Mrs P. which she could use as she wished. Very often she wanted to shop. She loved clothes and found London shops irresistible, especially Selfridges, which she described as an Aladdin’s cave. At this time she did not have much money since she had only been given a six-week visa in her passport. We often went to the Soviet Embassy to arrange for extensions to her visa, and eventually she asked me to sew extra pages into her passport since she was running out of space! I always went with her to the Embassy as she was afraid she might be drugged and flown back to Moscow. We had an arrangement with my husband that if we had not returned by the evening he would have to go into action. This opened up a world that was completely foreign to us, as we did living here in a freedom which we took for granted.
   Quite soon after her arrival, Mrs P. had meetings with Boosey & Hawkes, who published Prokofiev’s music in the West. She secured a new contract with them to ensure that all her family would benefit from the royalties which had accrued. I was amazed by the energy, determination and business acumen that she displayed during these complicated negotiations. It was at this time that she had the idea of setting up a Prokofiev Trust to promote the performance and study of Prokofiev’s work. By now she had several friends who helped her in different ways. Some cooked, some helped with secretarial work; I still packed, drove to airports, looked after her clothes and included her in our family life. Our children enjoyed her visits, and she loved going on their outings, especially picnics.   Next


Lina in 1908.

Lina in the mid eighties.

Lina Prokofiev recording Peter and the Wolf. 1986.

From the top:
- Lina in 1908 and in the mid eighties.
- Lina Prokofiev recording Peter and the Wolf, 1986.