234th Season

Mariinsky II (New Theatre)

20 December
19:00
2018 | Thursday
The Snow Maiden
Opera in 4 acts
WasUS$106NowUS$97
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Artists Credits
Choreography by Galina Kaloshina (revisions)
Tatiana Noginova, Costume Designer
Kamil Kutyev, Lighting Designer
Gleb Filshtinsky, Lighting Designer
Maestro Valery Gergiev, Musical Director
Larisa Gergieva, Musical Preparation
Andrei Petrenko, Principal Chorus Master
George Tsypin, Set Designer
Alexander Galibin, Stage Director
Alexei Stepanyuk, Stage Director
Performed in Russian
World premiere: 10 Feb 1882 Mariinsky Theatre
Premiere of this production: 26 Apr 2004

The performance has 2 intermissions
Running time: 4 hours

Libretto by the composer, after the play by Alexander Ostrovsky

The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka in transliteration) is an opera in four acts with a prologue by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, composed during 1880-1881. The Russian libretto, by the composer, is based on the like-named play by Alexandr Ostrovsky (which had premiered in 1873 with incidental music by Tchaikovsky). The first performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera took place at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg, 29 January 1882 (Old Style) under the conductorship of Eduard Nбpravnнk. By 1898 it was revised in the edition known today. It remained the composer’s own favorite work.

Synopsis

Prologue.

On Red Hill, near the Berendeyans’ trading quarter and Tsar Berendey’s capital. The fifteen-year-old Snow Maiden wants to live with the people in the nearby village, and her parents, Spring Beauty and Grandfather Frost, agree to let her be adopted by Bobyl’-Bakula and his wife.

Act I.

In the village of Berendeyevka, on the other side of the river. Snow Maiden is enchanted by Lel’s songs, but is saddened when he goes off with a group of other girls. Kupava enters and announces her own wedding to Mizgir’. The ceremony takes place, but then Mizgir’ notices Snow Maiden, becomes smitten with her, and begs her to love him. Kupava brings this affrontery before the villagers, and they advise her to go to the Tsar for redress.

Act II.

In Tsar Berendey’s palace. Kupava complains of Mizgir’ to Tsar Berendey, who decides to banish Mizgir’ to the forest. But these deliberations are disrupted by the appearance of the beautiful Snow Maiden. The Tsar asks her whom she loves, and she says, "no one." The Tsar declares that whoever successfully woos Snow Maiden will win both her and a royal reward. Although the maidens present Lel’ as the likely candidate, Mizgir’ swears that he will win Snow Maiden’s heart. The Tsar agrees to the contest as the people sing his praises.

Act III.

In a forest reserve, that evening. The people amuse themselves with song and dance. The Tsar invites Lel’ to choose a maiden. Despite Snow Maiden’s pleas, he kisses Kupava and goes off with her. Snow Maiden, left alone and disconsolate, wonders why Lel’ has rejected her. Suddenly Mizgir’ appears and tries once more to win her love. Frightened by his words, she runs off; but the Wood-Sprite tricks Mizgir’ to follow an apparition of Snow Maiden instead. Lel’ and Kupava enter, declaring their mutual love. Snow Maiden finds them and, seeing their happiness, at last truly wishes to have the capacity to love.

Act IV.

In the valley of Yarilo (the sun god), dawn is breaking the next day. Snow Maiden calls on her mother, Spring-Beauty, who appears from a lake surrounded by flowers. Spring gives her daughter a garland and warns her to stay out of the light of the sun. Spring and her retinue sink into the lake. Before Snow Maiden can enter the protection of the forest, Mizgir’ appears. No longer able to resist, she professes her love for him. The Berendeyans, in ritual bride-and-groom pairs, arrive to celebrate Yarilo’s Day. Before the Tsar Mizgir’ presents Snow Maiden as his bride. As she declares her love for Mizgir’, a bright ray of sunlight appears, and Snow Maiden bids farewell: the power to love is the source of her demise. To the astonishment of the people, she melts. The inconsolable Mizgir’ drowns himself in the lake. The Tsar calms the horrified Berendeyans with the fact that this event has ended the fifteen-year-long winter that has befallen them. In response the people strike up a stirring hymn to Yarilo.

 

Characters

Tsar Berendey: tenor

Bermyata, a boyar a boyar and confidant of the tsar: bass

Spring Beauty: mezzo-soprano

Grandfather Frost: bass

The girl Snow Maiden (Devushka-Snegurochka), [their daughter]: soprano

Bobyl’ [i.e., landless peasant] Bakula: tenor

Bobylikha, his wife: mezzo-soprano

Lel’, a shepherd: alto

Kupava, a young maiden, daughter of a rich villager: soprano

Mizgir’, a merchant guest from the Berendeyans' trading quarter: baritone

First Herald: tenor

Second Herald: bass

The Tsar's Page-Boy: mezzo-soprano

The Wood-Sprite: tenor

Carnival (or Shrovetide), a straw effigy: bass

Boyars, their wives and the tsar's retinue, gusli-players, blind men, skomorokhi, gudok-players, bag-pipers, shepherds, lads and lasss, male and female Berendeyans of every age and calling, forest sprites, Spring's retinue -- birds (cranes, geese, ducks, rooks, magpies, starlings, larks, and others), flowers: chorus

The action takes place in the land of the Berendeyans, in pre-historic times.


Mariinsky Theatre:
1 Theatre Square
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky-2 (New Theatre):
34 Dekabristov Street
St. Petersburg
Mariinsky Concert Hall:
20 Pisareva street
St. Petersburg
 
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