Shostakovich had a beloved pupil, Fleishman, whom he considered a genius and for whom he prophesied a great career. He persuaded him to write an opera based on a literary text of his liking. Fleischmann chose a short story by Chekhov,Rothschild’s Violin, and proceeded to sketch a few fragments of the score. Meanwhile, the war broke out. The young, belligerent composer volunteered for the front and soon died there. Distraught, Shostakovich took Fleischmann’s work with him into exile in Siberia, where amongst many other activities he was also writing his new opera The Gamblers, based on a play by Gogol. Paradoxically, he never managed to finish his own work, but he did complete and orchestrate his pupil’s score.