Opera "The Enchantress": content, video, interesting facts, history

P.I. Tchaikovsky opera "The Sorceress"

"Russian Carmen" - that is how contemporaries of the great Tchaikovsky called his opera "The Sorceress". This is an amazing work of an outstanding maestro, who, despite his enchanting music, had a difficult fate. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed this opera with great enthusiasm, put into it his soul and skills, which by that time were enough. He considered The Enchantress to be his greatest success and called it the best work for the musical theater, but, unfortunately, neither the public nor the critic appreciated its worth, which was very frustrating for the composer. However, the time has put everything in its place, and at the present time, the opera is ranked among the top creations of the genius Tchaikovsky.

Summary of Tchaikovsky's opera "Enchantress"and many interesting facts about this work read on our page.




Prince Kurlyaev Nikita Danilovichbaritonegovernor of the Grand Duke in Nizhny Novgorod
Princess Eupraxia Romanovnamezzo-sopranothe governor's wife
Knyazhich Yuritenorson of the governor
Nastasiasopranoyoung widow, called Kuma and the Enchantress, hostess of the inn at the crossing
Neenilamezzo-sopranosister Mamyrova, bedtelnitsa Evpraksii Romanovna
Zhuran Ivanbasstrapper prince
FockbaritoneUncle Nastasya
Paulinesopranogirlfriend Nastasya
Kudmabaritoneblack sorcerer

Summary of the opera "The Sorceress"

Opera events take place at the end of the 15th century in the environs of Nizhny Novgorod.

Inn inn near the crossing over the river Oka, on the other bank of which the city of Nizhny Novgorod is located. The hostess of the visiting house is a young widow, the beautiful Nastasia, called by the kind people Kuma, and the evil tongues the enchantress, always welcoming her guests. People of different ranks and titles often look to her to dispel the boredom, fun to parry and drink plenty of green wine. However, advocates of strict orders do not like this disagreement: they hate Nastasya and spread rumors that she knows with evil spirits.

Once a boat sailed past an inn, in which the young prince Yury, the son of Prince Kurlyaev, was returning from a hunt. The rumor about the nobility and attractiveness of the young man who reached Nastasya caused her great interest, but Yuri, avoiding the brisk place and his mistress, the sorceress, swam again by. As soon as everyone watched the princess’s boat float away, the news of the arrival of the Novgorod governor, Prince Kurlyaev, arrived. Everyone knew that the angry governor, instigated by deacon Mamyrov, had long wanted to disperse the "demonic nest." Guests in disarray, as familiar with the cruelty and savagery of the prince. Only Nastassja is calm. When Kurlyaev arrived with his retinue, she charmed the prince so much with his charm and sensible speech that he not only replaced anger with mercy, but also, having drunk a cup of wine brought to him, removed the ring from his hand and gave them a beautiful hostess.

The withering viceroy himself is not averse to having fun, and the buffoons who arrived with him set off to a fervent dance, to which not by their will, but by the order of the prince, the diak Mamyrov joins.

Some time later, in the prince's garden, the governor’s wife, Eupraxia Romanovna, was sitting on a porch in the crook garden. Recently, the prince does not pay any attention to her, leaves the house and leaves for Oka to the inn to Kum. Clan Mamyrov decided to take advantage of this situation, offended by the prince and Kumu for bringing a grudge to him. He convinces the princess that Nastasya bewitched the prince with witchcraft spells. Left alone, the humiliated woman vowed to take revenge on her rival. In a bad mood, a prince appears in the garden, all his thoughts are only about Nastasya's beloved by him. The reproaches of his wife for treason are even more annoying. Spouses angry with each other go away, and an angry people rush into the garden. The crowd pursues the servants of the prince, who brazenly, on a white day robbed the trading people. Demon Mamyrov, appearing at the noise, defended the thieves and ordered the guards to seize the rioters. The son of Prince Yuri, who heard the cry, understands the conflict, reproaches the deacon for arbitrariness, calms the people and calls on him to disperse. The princess returns to the garden. Upon learning that the prince again went for the Oka, she tells her son about his separation. The indignant prince promises his mother to kill the Enchantress.

Evening. Prince again arrived on a visit to Qom. He promises her countless riches in exchange for her feelings. However, a young woman is relentless and declares that it is better to take her own life than to submit to the unloved. The prince in fury is removed, but Kuma's friends come and warn her about another danger. Now we need to beware of the prince, who promised to kill a young widow. However, Nastasya is not afraid, because she does not value her life, which is now not at all sweet to her. Having extinguished the light and not closing the door, the woman wants to lie on the bed. Yuri silently enters the room. Going to the box of the woman with the dagger prepared for the murder, he will stagnate. The beauty of the Sorceress struck the prince. The hearts of young people stretched towards each other. Nastasya immediately told her lover that she was not guilty and she always refused to the prince’s claims.

In the forest on the banks of the Oka River, Yuri waits for Nastasya: the lovers gathered together to flee to distant lands, since the prince and princess for their disobedience drove his son from his home. In the same forest, dressed as a pilgrim, comes Eupraxia. Taking the deadly potion from the black sorcerer, she wants to poison the "witch" who destroyed her family happiness. While Yuri was away for a while, the princess met Nastasya and tricked her with poisoned water. When the princess returned, and Nastya became ill, the princess admitted that she had drunk the Enchantress with a poison. Nastasya dies in the arms of Yuri, who calls his mother a murderer and curses her. The body of a young widow came to the rescue princely servants on the orders of the hostess thrown into the water. A prince pursuing his son appears in the forest; he does not believe the words of Yuri that Nastya is dead and is killing the prince in a frenzy. From the incident all those present froze in a daze. A storm is approaching with a strong thunderstorm. Distraught prince of grief dies.

Duration of performance

I Act

Act II


IV Act

48 min

43 min

40 min

29 min

A photo

Interesting Facts

  • Name Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky it was so popular with the public that the Directorate of the Mariinsky Theater inserted the opera "The Sorceress" into the repertoire plan even before the composer put the last point on the score of this work.
  • The first performer of the role of Nastasia was the lead singer of the Mariinsky Theater, Emilia Pavlovskaya. The singer immediately disliked the libretto and her heroine, as Peter Ilyich constantly talked about.
  • One of the reasons why opera houses do not like to put "The Sorceress" is the difficulty of vocal parts, which require strong voices with an extensive range.
  • Ippolit Shpazhinsky - the author of the tragedy "The Sorceress", was a fairly well-known playwright, whose plays were successfully staged on the stages of Russian theaters. The Enchantress was written by Shpazhinsky in 1884 and put on the stage in the same year. Subsequently, the play was translated into German, French and Czech.
  • Everyone was accustomed to blaming Shpazhinsky, the not so successful libretto, for the failures of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera The Sorceress. However, the propagation of such an opinion was facilitated by the Russian Soviet composer and musicologist Boris Vladimirovich Asafiev, who did not really like the drama "The Enchantress".

Popular numbers

Aria Kuma "Look from the Lower" (listen)

Arioso Kuma "Where are you, my desired" (listen)

Arioso Yuri "Miller to me everything in the world"

Duet "When you are angry in my soul, telling everything, humbled"

The story of the creation of the opera "The Sorceress"

By the mid-eighties, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was known as a composer who bathed in the rays of world glory. He made multiple concert trips abroad, establishing friendly relations with famous European musicians there, and on his return to Russia, in addition to his composer's work, he was actively engaged in music and public activities. By that time, a large number of works of various genres were released from the composer’s pen, among which works of the opera genre occupied a special place. Being already the author of the "Oprichnika", "Voivod", "Ondine", "Cherevichek", "Eugene Onegin"," The Maid of Orleans "and" Mazepa ", he was constantly looking for interesting plots for his new operas. Thus, in 1884, Peter Ilyich's brother, playwright and librettist Modest, drew the composer's attention to It was a success in the Maly and Alexandria theaters. The playwright usually built his works on the themes of family relations, but in this work Tchaikovsky, when he read the play, saw the opportunity to create a realistic people's everyday tragedy.

First of all, his attention was attracted by the power of passions inherent in the drama, and especially the scene in which Prince Yury, who first saw the Enchantress, erupts passionate feelings. Lit up with the idea of ​​creating an opera based on Shpazhinsky, in January 1885, Peter Ilyich turned to the playwright with a request to write a libretto. Ippolit Vasilievich agreed, despite the fact that the composer had immediately warned him about a significant reworking of the text. As a result, the libretto of the opera was pretty different from the original source. Not only dialogues were reduced, but entire scenes, some minor characters were removed. As a result, the number of acts decreased to four instead of the former five. However, other changes were made. The picture of a collision between citizens and princely minions became massive, and at the request of the composer Shpazhinsky introduced the colorful character of the black sorcerer Kudma.

In February 1885, Peter Ilyich settled in the estate Maydanovo, a picturesque place, located near the town of Klin. In March, he finished there opera "Cherevichki"and then after returning from Switzerland he added symphony "Manfred". Tchaikovsky set to work on the Enchantress only in September, and it went very hard. The difficulties were caused by not too successful Shpazhinsky's libretto. As a result, the composition of the opera was stretched for two years. None of the works of this genre previously created by the composer has been written for so long, and not one of them has undergone so many alterations. Having completed the score in May 1887, Peter Ilyich, before the premiere, held in the Mariinsky Theater in October 1887, made adjustments to the musical material. The premiere performance of The Sorceress, which the author himself conducted, did not arouse much enthusiasm from the public, and then after 12 performances the opera was completely removed from the repertoire of the theater. The composer took this failure of his work very hard.


Already the premiere performances of The Sorceress, four of which were conducted by Peter Ilyich himself, showed that, despite the magnificent cast of performers and the wonderful performance of the choir and orchestra, the public perceived the opera without much enthusiasm. Already on the fifth performance, the hall was half empty, and after the seventh performance, the opera was completely removed from the repertoire. The Moscow production of The Sorceress was even less fortunate. Hastily rehearsed and poorly executed, respectively, in February 1890 at the Bolshoi Theater, she endured only one performance. The next production in Moscow was recorded in 1916.

The legend that “The Sorceress”, the most unsuccessful opera of Peter Ilyich, was dispelled in 1941, when it was staged in the Leningrad Kirov Theater according to a reworked libretto. The author of the new text was the Russian Soviet poet Sergey Mitrofanovich Gorodetsky.

In the same year, the opera was first staged at the Gorky Opera and Ballet Theater, and in 1954 at the Almaty Opera Theater.

In 1958, the Enchantress made me talk about herself again. She put it using the libretto Gorodetsky, an outstanding director Leonid Baratov and aspiring conductor, thirty-year-old Yevgeny Svetlanov. The performance was marked by good reviews and subsequently held in the Bolshoi Theater’s repertoire until 1965 (a total of 49 performances).

In the twenty-first century, the Enchantress was remembered again. In 2003, the Mariinsky Theater for the third time turned to the opera of Peter Ilyich, which is in the shadow of his other works of this genre. The performance was performed by English director David Pountney, as well as the musical director and conductor - Valery Gergiev. The premiere took place in June 2003, but before that the performance was shown at the Portuguese National Opera São Carlos in Lisbon in February of the same year.

In 2012, The Sorceress triumphantly conquered the stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and the conductor Alexander Lazarev and the artist Valery Leventhal became the culprits of the successful return of Tchaikovsky's opera. Thin and thoughtful direction of Alexander Titel with Tchaikovsky's magnificent music became the basis for an impressive musical performance.

In 2014, another remarkable production of "The Sorceress" took place. The Vienna Theater an der Wien opened the new theatrical season with this work. It should be noted that this theater often practices productions of little-known performances, to which the Sorceress belongs abroad.

"Enchantress"- this opera, despite the fact that Chaikovsky He considered it one of his best creations, so she was not among the repertoire performances and very rarely put on the stages of musical theaters. The composer, until his last days, believed that the opera was not understood and appreciated, and despite the stage failure in The Enchantress, he was not disappointed.

Watch the video: Luciano Pavarotti Recital - Nessun Dorma. Metropolitan OperaNew York ᴴᴰ (October 2019).

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