“If you are to tell your story–musically, theatrically, operatically–you must do it through proscribed means and with proscribed methods,” Dr. Stasov said. “It is like walking a tightrope.”

“How do you mean?”

“You must set your story in the distant past or the ideal present,” said Stasov. “You must describe it in terms of class warfare between bourgeois oppressors and proletarian revolutionaries, even if it predates Marx and Engels by thousands of years.”

“I want a story of love to be told in my ballet,” Voin said. “I will write the music first and then work out the steps with a choreographer.”

“Then you must be careful,” Stasov remarked. “Perhaps a serf in the era of Ivan can cause a nobleman to devote himself to the cause of socialist equality. Or two collective farmers might bond in the fields, or in a tractor repair workshop. But whatever you do, the nuances of your story must be through that lens. The alternative is denunciation and all that implies.”