The Master and Margarita


Live action films

  • 1971: the Polish director Andrzej Wajda made the movie Pilate and Others for the German TV, based on the biblical part of the book ('The Master's manuscript').[32][33]
  • 1972: the joint Italian-Yugoslavian production of Aleksandar Petrović's The Master and Margaret (Italian: Il Maestro e Margherita, Serbo-Croatian: Majstor i Margarita) was released. Based loosely on the book, the main discrepancy is that the Master in the movie has an actual name, Nikolaj Afanasijevic Maksudov, while in the original book the Master is persistently anonymous.[34][35]
  • 1992: In an adaptation called Incident in Judaea by Paul Bryers, only the Yeshua story is told. The film includes a prologue which mentions Bulgakov and the other storylines. The cast includes John Woodvine, Mark Rylance, Lee Montague and Jim Carter. The film was distributed by Brook Productions and Channel 4.[36][37]
  • 1994: A Russian movie of the novel was made by Yuri Kara. Although the cast included big names and talented actors (Anastasiya Vertinskaya as Margarita, Mikhail Ulyanov as Pilate, Nikolai Burlyayev as Yeshua, Valentin Gaft as Woland, Aleksandr Filippenko as Korovyev-Fagot) and its score was by the noted Russian composer Alfred Schnittke, the movie was never actually released on any media. The grandson of Bulgakov's third wife Elena Sergeevna Shilovskaya claims, as a self-assigned heir, the rights on Bulgakov's literary inheritance and refused the release. Since 2006, however, copies of the movie have existed on DVD. Some excerpts of it can be viewed on the Master and Margarita website.[38] The movie was finally released in cinemas in 2011.[39]
  • 1996: The Russian director Sergey Desnitsky and his wife, the actress Vera Desnitskaya, made the film Master i Margarita. They were disappointed by the reactions of the Russian media, and decided that the film would never be shown.[40]
  • 2005: The Hungarian director Ibolya Fekete made a short film of 26 minutes, entitled A Mester és Margarita. This film, with some famous Russian and Hungarian actors like Sergey Grekov, Grigory Lifanov, and Regina Myannik, was broadcast by MTV Premier on October 5, 2005.[41][42]
  • 2008: The Italian director Giovanni Brancali made the film Il Maestro e Margherita. The setting is not the city of Moscow in the 1930s, but the contemporary Italian city of Florence.[43]
  • 2013: The American producer Scott Steindorff is preparing the film The Master and Margarita. Many names of possible directors and actors have already been mentioned, especially in the Russian press, but the only name which can be confirmed right now, is Caroline Thompson (The Addams Family, Edward Scissorhands, Black Beauty), who is working on the script.[44]

Animated films

  • 2002: the French animators Clément Charmet and Elisabeth Klimoff made an animation of the first and third chapter of The Master and Margarita based on Jean-François Desserre's graphic novel.[45]
  • 2010: Israeli director Terentij Oslyabya made an animation film The master and Margarita, chapter 1. His movie literally follows every word of the novel.[46][47]
  • 2012: the Russian animation film maker Rinat Timerkaev starts working on a full-length animated film Master i Margarita. On his blog,[48] Timerkaev keeps his followers informed regularly of the progress of his plans.[49]


  • 1988: The Polish director Maciej Wojtyszko produced Mistrz i Małgorzata, a TV miniseries of four episodes.[50][51]
  • 1989: the Russian theatre director Aleksandr Dzekun adaptated his theatre play Master i Margarita for television. As suggested by the subtitle, "Chapters from the novel,: the film doesn't cover the entire novel. Only 21 chapters of it were adapted in a miniseries.[52]
  • 2005: Russian director Vladimir Bortko, famous for his TV adaptation of Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog and Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, made a Master and Margarita TV miniseries of ten episodes. The miniseries was first released on 19 December 2005. It starred Aleksandr Galibin as The Master, Anna Kovalchuk as Margarita, Oleg Basilashvili as Woland, Aleksandr Abdulov as Korovyev-Fagot, Kirill Lavrov as Pontius Pilate, Valentin Gaft as Kaifa, and Sergey Bezrukov as Yeshua.[53][54]


The novel has been adapted by Lucy Catherine, with music by Stephen Warbeck, for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 15 March 2015.

Comic strips and graphic novels

  • 1997: Russian comic strip author Rodion Tanaev adapted the book into a graphic novel .[55]
  • 2002: French comic strip author Jean-François Desserre adapted it into a graphic novel.[56]
  • 2005: Russian comic strip authors Askold Akishine and Misha Zaslavsky adapted it into a graphic novel.[57]
  • 2008: The book was adapted into a graphic novel by the London-based comic strip authors Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal.[58]
  • 2013: The Austrian/French comic strip author Bettina Egger told the story of Mikhail Bulgakov and The Master and Margarita in the graphic novel Moscou endiablé, sur les traces de Maître et Marguerite. She interweaves the story of The Master and Margarita with the story of Mikhail Bulgakov's life and with her own exploration of the sources of the novel in Moscow.[59]


The Master and Margarita has been adapted on stage by more than 500 theatre companies all over the world.

  • 1971: from 1971 to 1977, all theatre adaptations of The Master and Margarita were Polish. They could not be called The Master and Margarita though. Therefore they were staged as Black Magic and Its Exposure (Kraków, 1971), Black Magic (Katowice, 1973), Have you seen Pontius Pilate? (Wrocław, 1974), and Patients (Wroclaw, 1976).[60]
  • 1977: long a Soviet underground classic, Bulgakov's novel was finally brought to the Russian stage by the director Yuri Lyubimov at Moscow's Taganka Theatre.[61]
  • 1978: stage production directed by Romanian-born American director Andrei Şerban at the New York Public Theater, starring John Shea. This seems to be the version revived in 1993 (see below).
  • 1980: stage production (Maestrul şi Margareta) directed by Romanian stage director Cătălina Buzoianu at The Little Theatre ("Teatrul Mic"[62]) in Bucharest, Romania.[63] Cast: Ştefan Iordache[64] as Master / Yeshua Ha-Notsri, Valeria Seciu[65] as Margareta, Dan Condurache[66] as Woland, Mitică Popescu[67] as Koroviev, Gheorghe Visu[68] as Ivan Bezdomny / Matthew Levi, Sorin Medeleni[69] as Behemoth.
  • 1982: stage production (Mästaren och Margarita) directed by Swedish stage director Peter Luckhaus at the National Theatre of Sweden Dramaten in Stockholm, Sweden – Cast: Rolf Skoglund as Master, Margaretha Byström as Margareta, Jan Blomberg as Woland, Ernst-Hugo Järegård as Berlioz/Stravinskij/Pontius Pilate, Stellan Skarsgård as Koroviev and Örjan Ramberg as Ivan/Levi Mattei.[70]
  • 1991: at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. UK Premiere. 3rd year professional diploma course. Director Helena Kaut-Howson. Cast includes: Katherine Kellgren, James Harper, Paul Cameron, Zen Gesner, Kirsten Clark, Polly Hayes, Abigail Hercules, Clive Darby, Daniel Philpot
  • 1992: at the Lyric Hammersmith in June the Four Corners theatre company presented a distillation of the novel, translated by Michael Denny and adapted and directed for the stage by David Graham-Young (of Contemporary Stage). The production transferred to the Almeida Theatre in July 1992.[71]
  • 1993: the Theatre for the New City produced a stage adaptation in New York City, originally commissioned by Joseph Papp and the Public Theater. The adaptation was by Jean-Claude van Itallie. It was directed by David Willinger and featured a cast of 13, including Jonathan Teague Cook as Woland, Eric Rasmussen as Matthew Levi, Cesar Rodriguez as Yeshua Ha Nozri, Eran Bohem as The Master and Lisa Moore as Margarita. This version was published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. A French version using part of van Itallie's text was performed at the Théâtre de Mercure, Paris, directed by Andrei Serban.
  • 1994: stage production at Montreal's Centaur Theatre, adapted and directed by Russian-Canadian director Alexandre Marine.
  • In 2000, the Israeli theatre Gesher produced a musical, based on the Hebrew translation of the book by Ehud Manor. Adapted and directed by Yevgeny Arye and starring Haim Topol, Evgeny Gamburg, Israel "Sasha" Demidov and others, the show premiered on 26 December 2000. Combining special effects and a 23 musician orchestra, the show was hailed a success.
  • A German-language stage adaptation of the novel, Der Meister und Margarita, directed by Frank Castorf premiered in the summer of 2002 at the Vienna Festival, Austria, and is discussed in the August/September 2002 (08|09 02) issue of the German theatre magazine Theater heute.[72]
  • 2004: an adaptation of the novel by Edward Kemp and directed by Steven Pimlott was staged in July 2004 at the Chichester Festival Theatre, UK. The cast included Samuel West as the Master and Michael Feast as "the dazzling devil incarnate, Woland with a retinue that includes a man-size back cat Behemoth". The production included incidental music by one of Pimlott's regular composers, Jason Carr.[73]
  • 2004: the National Youth Theatre produced a new stage adaptation by David Rudkin at the Lyric Hammersmith London, directed by John Hoggarth. It featured a cast of 35 and ran from 23 August to 11 September.[74] In 2005, Rudkin's adaptation received a further, stylistically different, production with a cast of thirteen, at Aberystwyth University Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Theatr y Castell, directed by David Ian Rabey.
  • In October 2006 it was staged by Grinnell College, directed by Veniamin Smekhov.
  • In 2006 an almost 5 hour long adaptation was staged by Georgian director Avtandil Varsimashvili.
  • In 2007, Helsinki, Finland, the group theatre Ryhmäteatteri stages a production named Saatana saapuu Moskovaan (Satan comes to Moscow), directed by Finnish director Esa Leskinen. Eleven actors played 26 separate roles in a successful theathrical performance of three hours during the season 25 September 2007 – 1.3.2008.
  • In 2007, Alim Kouliev in Hollywood with The Master Project production started rehearsals on stage with his own stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita.[75] The premier was scheduled for 14 October 2007, but was postponed. Some excerpts and information of it can be viewed on the Master and Margarita website.[76] The production is still in progress.[77]
  • In 2008 a Swedish stage production of Mästaren och Margarita directed by Leif Stinnerbom was performed at Stockholms stadsteater, starring Philip Zandén (the Master), Frida Westerdahl (Margarita), Jakob Eklund (Woland) and Ingvar Hirdwall (Pilate).[78]
  • In 2010 a new, original stage translation, written by Max Hoehn and Raymond Blankenhorn, was used as the Oxford University Dramatic Society Summer Tour, performing in Oxford, Battersea Arts Centre in London and at C Venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[79]
  • In 2011 award-winning theatre company Complicite premiered its new adaptation, directed by Simon McBurney at Theatre Royal Plymouth. It toured to Luxembourg, London, Madrid, Vienna, Recklinghausen, Amsterdam. In July 2012 it toured to the Festival d'Avignon and the Grec Festival in Barcelona.
  • In October 2013, Lodestar Theatre premiered a new adaptation by Max Rubin at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Ballet and dance

In 2003 the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, Russia, presented Master i Margarita, a new full-length ballet set to music by Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich, Hector Berlioz, Astor Piazzolla and other composers. Choreography and staging by David Avdysh, set design by Simon Pastukh (USA) and costume design by Galina Solovyova (USA). In 2007 the National Opera of Ukraine, Kiev, premiered David Avdysh's The Master and Margarita, a ballet-phantasmagoria in two acts.[80]

2010: Synetic Theater presents the re-staging of The Master and Margarita directed by Paata Tsikirishvili and choreographed by Irina Tsikurishvili. The show featured a cast of 16, including Paata Tsikirishvili as Master and Irina Tsikurishvili as Margarita and ran from 11 November to 12 December 2010 at the Lansburgh Theatre.

Pop music

Hundreds of composers, bands, singers and songwriters were inspired by The Master and Margarita in their work. All together, they produced some 250 songs or musical pieces about it.

More than 25 rock bands and artists, including The Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, Franz Ferdinand and Pearl Jam have been inspired by the novel. In pop music, more than 15 popular bands and artists, including Igor Nikolayev, Valery Leontiev, Zsuzsa Koncz, Larisa Dolina and Linda have been inspired by the novel. Valery Leontiev's song Margarita was used to make the first ever Russian video clip in 1989.

Many Russian bards, including Alexander Rosenbaum, have been inspired by the novel to write songs about it. They have based more than 200 songs on themes and characters from The Master and Margarita.

Classical music

A dozen classical composers, including Dmitri Smirnov and Andrey Petrov, have been inspired by the novel to write symphonies and musical phantasies about it.

2011: Australian composer and domra (Russian mandolin) player Stephen Lalor presented his "Master & Margarita Suite" of instrumental pieces in concert at the Bulgakov Museum Moscow in July 2011, performed on the Russian instruments domra, cimbalom, bass balalaika, and bayan.[81]

Opera and musical theatre

More than 15 composers, including York Höller, Alexander Gradsky and Sergei Slonimsky, have made operas and musicals on the theme of The Master and Margarita.

  • 1972: 3-act chamber opera The Master and Margarita by Russian composer Sergei Slonimsky was completed, but not allowed to be performed or published; its concert premiere took place in Moscow on 20 May 1989, and the score was released in 1991. An abridged Western premiere took place in Hannover, in June 2000.
  • 1977: A musical adaptation written by Richard Crane[82] and directed by his wife Faynia Williams was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by the University of Bradford Drama Group at Bedlam Theatre. It went on to win a Fringe First award, garnering excellent reviews and became an iconic tale of success at the fringe.[83]
  • 1989: The German composer York Höller's opera Der Meister und Margarita was premiered in 1989 at the Paris Opéra and released on CD in 2000.
  • On 25 August 2006, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced that he aimed to turn the novel into "a stage musical or, more probably, an opera".[84] However, in 2007 The Stage, an online theatre website, confirmed that he has abandoned his attempt to compose a musical version of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. "I’ve decided that it's undo-able. It's just too difficult for an audience to contemplate. It's a very complicated novel."
  • In late 2009, a Russian singer and composer Alexander Gradsky released a 4-CD opera adaptation of the novel. It stars Gradsky himself as Master, Woland, Yeshua and Behemoth, Nikolai Fomenko as Koroviev, Mikhail Seryshev (formerly of Master) as Ivan, Elena Minina as Margarita and many renowned Russian singers and actors in episodic roles, including (but not limited to) Iosif Kobzon, Lyubov Kazarnovskaya, Andrei Makarevich, Alexander Rosenbaum, Arkady Arkanov, Gennady Khazanov and the late Georgi Millyar (voice footage from one of his movies was used).[85]


Ennio Morricone, Alfred Schnittke and Igor Kornelyuk have composed soundtracks for films about The Master and Margarita.[86]

Other music

Five alternative composers and performers, including Simon Nabatov, have been inspired by the novel to present various adaptations.

In 2009, Portuguese new media artists Video Jack premiered an audiovisual art performance inspired by the novel at Kiasma, Helsinki, as part of the PixelAche Festival. Since then, it has been shown in festivals in different countries, having won an honorable mention award at Future Places Festival, Porto. The project was released as a net art version later that year.[87]

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