Opera Scotland

Nadeshda

Music

Arthur Goring Thomas (born Ratton Park, 20 November 1850; died London, 20 March 1892)

Text

Julian Sturgis (1848-1904)

Source

Original

 

Premieres

First performance: London (Drury Lane), 16 April 1885.

First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 14 November 1885.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.

 

Background

Arthur Goring Thomas was widely considered a be a composer of excellent potential, when his first opera, Esmeralda, was commissioned by Carl Rosa. It had a great popular success, and was quickly followed by Nadeshda with almost as much immediate approval. Thomas's style of lyricism was immediately attractive, and he included plenty of folk-dance material, at a time before Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin or related works were familiar to British audiences. His third piece, The Golden Web, was thought less successful, but the composer had already died, and the work was completed by another hand.

Nadeshda did not have the lasting popular success enjoyed by Esmeralda, but it was revived in London by the Royal Academy of Music in 1921, and this seems to have prompted the first staging in Dundee. Further performances were given in Glasgow in February 1927. Glasgow Grand had already revived Esmeralda in 1921.

 

Characters

Nadeshda, a serf (soprano)

Princess Natalia (mezzo-soprano)

Voldemar, the princess's elder son (tenor)

Ivan, the princess's younger son (baritone)

Ostap, a peasant (bass)

 

Plot Summary

The opera is located in late eighteenth century Russia, during the reign of Catherine the Great. Nadeshda is a serf on Voldemar's estate. She is a very attractive girl, and object of the affections of both Voldemar and Ivan as well as Ostap. On inheriting the estate, Voldemar gave Ivan the opportunity to choose anything on it he wanted. Ivan asked for ownership of Nadeshda to be transferred to him. To avoid this happening, the only solution Voldemar sees is to give Nadeshda her freedom. Furious at being foiled in his plan, Ivan advises his mother that Voldemar is planning to marry Nadeshda. The princess remonstrates unsuccessfully with Voldemar. She has the power to disinherit her elder son and pass the property to Ivan, and threatens to do so unless he renounces Nadeshda. While he is determined to continue, Nadeshda herself is not prepared to marry him and help him to ruin himself. However Ivan now attempts to abduct her, but is foiled in the attempt by Ostap, who wounds him before committing suicide. As he dies, Ivan repents of his schemes, and confesses all. The princess asks for Voldemar's pardon and consents to his marriage with Nadeshda.

The Cast

Ivan
 younger son of the Princess
Nadeshda
 a serf
Ostap
 a peasant
Princess Natalia
 
Voldemar
 elder son of the Princess

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