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21 November 2018
Lever de rideau sur le pays komi

Translator and researcher Sébastien Cagnoli from Nice has studied the Komi language, literature and the history of the Komi national theater for 12 years, producing articles, facilitating exchange between the Komi theater company in Syktyvkar and a French theater company in Nice, and eventually bringing the Komi culture closer to the West-European world.

The result of his passionate activities, commitment to the subject of his research and collaboration with the local cultural, scientific and educational institutions is this tremendously well-articulates and well-illustrated volume: 

Lever de rideau sur le pays komi: Un théâtre finno-ougrien de Russie boréale en dialogue avec le monde.

Presenting the book to a wider French-speaking public outside of Russia, the author starts the first chapters with an introduction to the the Komi Republic, its national identity, natural environment and people: "The Komi Republic, in the north-east of European Russia, is bordered by the Urals and the Arctic tundra. At the heart of this Finno-Ugrian region, where identity rests on language and territory, the society and its history come into resonance with a century of theatrical performances in the national idiom. Over the past century, the Komi theater has become a vehicle for mythology and popular traditions, propaganda and global communication. From author Lebedev to Popov, this book "raises the curtain" over a culture that offers itself to have a dialogue with the world".

The presentation of the book was attended by more than sixty people, even though it was scheduled for the early afternoon. Students and teachers, researchers and representatives of NGOs, writers and journalists, actors and theater managers came to congratulate the French linguist on his milestone publication. In dialogue with his audience, Sébastien answered their questions in English, French, Russian and, of course, Komi. He was moved to see many familiar faces among the guests: writer Aleksey Popov whose play he translated from Komi into French, professor Elena Ostanova who was among his first contacts in the Komi language studies and translations, Svetlana Gorchakova, the director of the Komi National Theater of Music and Drama, whose role in the formation of the national drama is covered in many chapters of the book. 

It was symbolic that the book about Komi drama was presented on the eve of the 130th anniversary since the birth of Victor Savin, one of the founding fathers of the national Komi theater.

The author shared a copy of the book with his major long-term partners: the National Library of the Komi Republic, the Syktyvkar State University, the Komi Institute of Language and Literature, and the Komi National Theater of Music and Drama.

In the Foreign Language Literature Department of the library you can find other books by Sébastien Cagnoli that do not only deal with Komi folklore, poetry and drama, but also present his innovative writing style: 

  • Le mur (2005)
  • Kört Aïka et autres légendes komies: poèmes épiques de Mikhaïl Lebedev et de Vassili Lytkine (2010)
  • Ńobdinsa Vittor et Francis Gag: le théâtre au service da la langue (2011)

All of them have been logical steps in his literary career and research paving the way to the new publication. 

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