Opera Scotland

Aleko

Music

Sergey Rachmaninov (born Semyonovo, 1 April 1873; died Beverly Hills, 28 March 1943).

Text

Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.

Source

Poem Tsygany (The Gypsies 1824) by Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837).

 

Premières

First performance: Moscow (Bolshoi Theatre), 9 May 1893.

First performance in UK: London (London Opera House), 15 July 1915.

First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Usher Hall), 24 August 2008 (Concert).

Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 6 May 2018 (concert).

 

Background

Rachmaninov's first opera was a student work, highly praised by Tchaikovsky, and seen at the time as forecasting an excellent future for him as a composer in general and of operas in particular. The potential was not fulfilled, at least in opera, although there is plenty of good music in the two successors, and its popularity has not really been maintained either.

 

Characters

Aleko (baritone).

Young Gypsy (tenor).

Zemfira, Aleko's wife (soprano)

Old Gypsy, Zemfira's father (bass)

Old Gypsy woman (mezzo-soprano).

 

Plot Summary

Aleko, a misanthropic character, and middle-aged, has abandoned his conventional role in society and gone off to live with a tribe of gypsies. He has fallen for one of their number Zemfira, and they have a child. However she quickly becomes bored with him, and takes a young gypsy for her lover. Her father had endured similar betrayal some years before. Aleko is naturally of a jealous nature, and when he finds Zemfira with her boyfriend he kills them both. The gypsy tribe expels him from their society and he is left alone.

The Cast

Aleko
 
Old Gypsy
 Zemfira's father
Old Gypsy woman
 
Young Gypsy
 
Zemfira
 Aleko's wife

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2017

Site by SiteBuddha