• OTF - Le Coq d'Or by Rimsky-Korsakov

    For those of you who follow OTF regularly, you know I like to "challenge" myself (and you) by programming Russian language operas from time to time. This 20th century gem has an intriguing history to boot!

    Composed between October 1906 and August 1907 and first performed in 1909, Rimsky Korsakov’s last opera Zolotoy petushok (lit. The Golden Cockerel or in frenmch, le coq d'or) is a "dramatized fable" (nebïlitsa v litsakh), based on a imitation folk tale in verse by Pushkin.

    Although Rimsky’s opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya was supposed to be his final work, a number of factors conspired in getting him involved in this ultimate projet – these factors also have a lot to do with the fact the work was prevented from being performed by the censor until after the composer's death.

    According to Wikipedia, among those factors we have the Russo-Japanese War and early Russian Revolutionary Activity.

    Under Tsar Nicholas II, Russia became involved in a highly unpopular war with Japan. It proved to be a military disaster, and Russia was eventually defeated. (In the Golden Cockerel, King Dodon foolishly decides to make a pre-emptive strike against the neighbouring State, and there is huge chaos and bloodshed on the battlefield. The king himself gives more attention to his personal pleasures, and comes to a sticky end.)

    On January 9, 1905, several thousand people, led by a priest, demonstrated in the Palace Square in St Petersburg. Though considered a peaceful protest, more than 1,000 persons were shot by the Tsarist troops, and the date has become known as Bloody Sunday (1905). Students in the St Petersburg Conservatoire also demonstrated against the Tsar, and Rimsky Korsakov supported their protest. For this he was dismissed from his post as head of the Conservatoire. Alexander Glazunov and Anatoly Lyadov resigned and left with him.

    The opera’s portrayal of a lazy autocrat involved in harebrained conflicts with invading neighboring countries, and lines in the libretto such as the mention of "a new dawn...without the Tsar" (which, nevertheless, had already appeared years before in Pushkin's published text) did indeed attract the ire of the Tsar’s court.

    In sa recent Friday montage, I presented the suite that Rimsky devised from the music – parts of which were given public performances before his death. Here is the link.

    The Performance

    My OTF's this month will take advantage of the many public domain vinyl transfers available from the music library of the French music forum MQCD Musique Classique

    (BTW - this month's MQCD playlist provides selections from the rarely heard operetta by Robert Planquette, "Les cloches de Corneville")

    Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844 - 1908)
    Zolotoy petushok (The Golden Cockerel), RK 15a
    Opera in three acts, libretto, by Vladimir Belsky, inspired by from Alexander Pushkin's poem The Tale of the Golden Cockerel

    CAST

    Aleksey Korolev (Tsar Dodon)
    Yuri Yelnikov (Tsarevich Gvidon)
    Aleksandr Polyakov (Tsarevich Afron)
    Leonid Ktitorov (General Polkan)
    Antonina Klescheva (Amelfa)
    Gennady Pishchayev (Astrologer)
    Klara Kadinskaya (Shemakhan Tsaritsa)
    Nina Polyakova (Golden Cockerel).
    Moscow Radio Orchestra and Chorus
    Aleksey Kovalev & Yevgeny Akulov, conducting
    (Studio recording, 1962)

    SYNOPSIS: http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/397/libretto/
    MQCD Musique Classique URL : http://www.mqcd-musique-classique.co...ead.php?t=6840

    June 7 2013, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Pelléas et Mélisande" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more June 7 on the ITYWLTMT Blogspot blog.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: OTF - Le Coq d'Or by Rimsky-Korsakov started by itywltmt View original post


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