Opera Scotland

Mavra

Music

Igor Stravinsky (born Oranienbaum (Lomonosov), 17 June 1882; died New York, 6 April 1971)

Text

Boris Kochno

Source

Poem The Little House in Kolomna (1830) by Aleksandr Pushkin (1799-1837)

 

Premieres

First Performance: Paris (Opéra), 3 June 1922.

First Performance in UK: Edinburgh (King's Theatre), 21 August 1956.

First Performance in Scotland: As above.

Scottish Opera premiere: N/A.

 

Background

Mavra is dedicated to the memory of Pushkin, Glinka and Tchaikovsky, and there are constant references to older styles of music throughout. The plot itself is a delightful piece of frivolity, and why it is so rarely performed is hard to imagine. It should be seen more often, and the Academy's triple-bill was the ideal setting. The 1956 British premiere, by the Hamburg State Opera, was as an afterpiece following the altogether very serious Oedipus Rex. This may have been an attempt to follow classical practice of finishing the evening with a farce, but it may not have allowed Mavra to be seen to best advantage.

 

Characters

Parasha (soprano)

Mother (contralto)

Neighbour (mezzo-soprano)

Hussar (tenor)

 

Plot Summary

Parasha sits doing needlework, and the absence of her lover. The hussar appears at the window, and they sing a duet. After his departure, her mother appears, also in mourning, this time because of the death of her cook. A neighbour then appears, to pass the time of day. Parasha now returns, having engaged a new cook, interoduced by the name of Mavra. This is the hussar in drag, and a quartet follows on the virtues of finding good servants. Left alone, Parasha and the hussar now sing a love duet. When the cook is left alone, he decides to shave, and while engaged in this he is disturbed by the return of Parasha's mother, who thinks he is a burglar and faints. This is the hussar's cue to retreat, and he makes his escape through the window.

The Cast

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