Enjoying Romance in Russia

Omar Sharif played Dr. Zhivago the fictional character who was torn between his love for two women, his foster sister Tonya who became his wife played by Geraldine Chaplin and Lara played by Julie Christie who is married to the railway worker and Bolshevik sympathizer Pasha Antipov played by Rod Steiger.  Boris Pasternak received the Nobel prize for this masterpiece and his real life was filled with love and tragedy.  The character of Lara in this book was based on his mistress, Olga Ivinskaia, a woman he loved for the last 13 years of his life until he died in May, 1960.  The extent of their relationship, through Stalin’s purges and despite periods of separation and imprisonment, demonstrates his love for her throughout their hardships.  The two were romantically involved, although he refused to leave his wife.  Boris Pasternak was a talented Russian poet whose family lost everything in the Russian Revolution.  He adjusted, kept writing poems, and managed to survive the Stalinist purges of writers in the 1930s.  Olga became pregnant with Pasternak’s child, she was flung into a morgue by her jailers because of her association with Pasternak, and she spent the night with a bunch of corpses while pondering her fate.  She didn’t betray Pasternak, but she later miscarried.

In the book, Yuri writes poetry and is a doctor that is assigned to take care of Lara’s mother, after she attempted suicide when she learned that her daughter was having sex behind her back with her lover Komarovsky.  Lara is torn between the satisfaction of having a much older man pay attention to her and spend money on her, and the disgust she feels by letting the relationship continue.  Lara becomes a battlefield nurse to look for her husband Pasha who joined the service and was reported missing in action.  Doctor Yuri Zhivago is wounded, and he is sent to the hospital where she works as a nurse.  After his recovery, Zhivago stays on at the hospital as a physician and Yuri and Lara fall in love, but they won’t admit their feelings to each other.  Yuri returns to his wife and child in Moscow, and Lara goes back to her daughter, but Lara and Yuri meet and consummate their relationship.  Tonya is now pregnant and when she is about to give birth, Zhivago decides to break it off with Lara, but Yuri is abducted and goes backs to Lara, and learns that his family has been deported to France.

Yuri stays with Lara and her daughter for a few months and is told that that Pasha Antipov is dead, because the Bolsheviks were after him.  Yuri convinces Lara to go with her mother’s lover, lawyer and businessman Victor Ippolitovich Komarovsky, saying that he will follow her shortly.  Lara left with Komarovsky, and a week later Pasha arrives looking for his wife and daughter.  He and Yuri spend the evening deep in discussion.  When Yuri wakes the next morning, he discovers Pasha has committed suicide.  Yuri returns to Moscow and meets Marina; they live together and have two children.  Yuri gets a job in a hospital, and decides to cut ties with his new family.  On his first day of work, riding a tram to the hospital, he feels unwell, gets off the tram, takes a few steps and collapses in the street.  Lara happens to be in town and she stumbles upon Yuri’s funeral.  She persuades Yuri’s half-brother, to assist her in her search for a daughter that she had conceived with Yuri.  Days after Yuri’s death, Lara disappears believed to be arrested during Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge and dies in the Gulag, “a nameless number on a list that was later misplaced”.

Today is the Dr. Zhivago and Laura love theme on Love Is In Da Blog and we are asked to find a “revolutionary” love song and/or write an Onegin Stanza about Zhivago and Lara.  I like the way Andy Williams sings ‘Somewhere My Love (Lara’s Theme)’ which was written by Paul Francis Webster and Maurice Jarre for the movie Doctor Zhivago.  ‘Lara’s Theme’ was the name given to this musical composition for the film Doctor Zhivago and soon afterward, the leitmotif became the basis of the song ‘Somewhere, My Love’ when Paul Webster took the theme and added lyrics to it that were requested by Connie Francis.  Connie thought the lyrics were too “corny”, so she didn’t record it.  Ray Conniff did record a version, which reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1966 and topped the Easy listening chart in the U.S. for four weeks.  Francis then decided to release a single, but it failed to chart in the US, although it became one of her biggest successes internationally.  Andy Williams released a version in 1967 on his album, Born Free.

Somewhere, my love, there will be songs to sing
Although the snow covers the hope of spring

Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold
And there are dreams all that your heart can hold

Someday we’ll meet again my love
Someday whenever the spring breaks through

You’ll come to me out of the long ago
Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow

Lara my own, think of me now and then
God speed my love till you are mine again
Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow
God speed my love ‘til you are mine again

Written for Love Is In Da Blog 2021 Great Love Stories Laura and Doctor Yuri Zhivago theme where today we were asked to find a “revolutionary” love song and/or write an Onegin Stanza about Zhivago and Lara.

11 thoughts on “Enjoying Romance in Russia

  1. Hi Jim, thanks for the information. I didn’t know there are lyrics to the song. Always just heard it as an instrumental. And my gosh what a story. I definitely need to read more of the Russian classics. They could weave mighty stories 🙂

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