Once again, the unforgettable hour.
I see, I hear, I feel you.

In November of 1945, only a few months after the end of World War II, the British philosopher and diplomat, Isaiah Berlin, returned to his native Russia. A chance remark led to an introduction to the legendary poet Anna Akhmatova, living in a corner of the once splendid Fountain Palace in Leningrad. All that is known for sure is that the 35-year old Berlin entered Akhmatova’s flat at 3pm and left at 11 the following morning. The memoirs of the young philosopher speak of a night spent discussing authors and exiles. The poems and reminiscences of Akhmatova, 55-years old at the time of the encounter, testify to something considerably more momentous. As a result of her night spent with a foreign diplomat, Stalin himself denounced Akhmatova and removed all her privileges – she never published again until after his death. According to Akhmatova, the Cold War started that night – indeed, Winston Churchill made his famous Iron Curtain speech only a few months later. But equally important, that night inspired some of Akhmatova’s most moving love poetry and re-imagined Berlin as the Guest from the Future, a character in her masterwork, Poem Without a Hero.

Mel Marvin   Composer

Jonathan Levi   Libretto
David Chambers   Director
David Levi  Music Director
Gil Morgenstern   Music Advisor
Darcy Scanlin   Sets
Christopher Parry   Lights
Alixandra Englund   Costumes
Paul LaBarbera   Soundscape


Lillian Sengpiehl   Young Anna Akhmatova
Jonathan Hays   Isaiah Berlin
Brian Jauhiainen   Vladimir Orlov
Tracy Wise   Mikhail Zoschenko
Daniel Okulitch   Nikolai Gumilyov
Kathryn Friest   Olga Sudhekina
Christopher O’Connor   Vsevolod Knyazev
Scott Hogsed   Andrei Zhdanov
Michaela Martens   Anna Akhmatova
Vale Rideout   Amadeo Modigliani
Gloria Parker   Virginia Woolf
Vale Rideout   Osip Mandelstam
Daniel Okulitch   Lev Gumilyov
Tracy Wise   Nikolai Punin
Gloria Parker   Anna Arens
Kathryn Friest   Irina Arens
Jan Opalach   Josef Stalin
Christopher O’Connor   Randolph Churchill





World premiere: World Premiere: July 23, 2004 Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College