The American bestseller about the passionate sexual relationship between Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged intellectual, literature professor and writer, and the 12-year-old Lolita, an unbridled, impudent and lustful girl, set in the 1940s or the 1950s, gave rise to fierce debates and generated controversy. Following the initial wave of decrial, its author, Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977), a Russian-American novelist and poet, gained global fame.
Fifty years later, the Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932) created an opera set to Lolita. It is his fifth stage piece inspired by literary works by great Russian writers. The previous ones were the opera Dead Souls (1976) based on Gogol and the ballets Anna Karenina (1972) based on Tolstoy, The Seagull (1979) and The Lady with the Lapdog (1985, the latter two based on Chekhov).
Shchedrin composed the opera Lolita to his own libretto to commission from Mstislav Rostropovich, who conducted its world premiere (in Swedish translation) on 14 December 1994 in Stockholm.
The very first Czech production of Shchedrin’s Lolita will be created for the National Theatre in Prague by the renowned Slovak director and performance artist Sláva Daubnerová, who is noted for her singular approach to 20th–century opera, affording it a forcible and visually provocative touch.