Opera Scotland

Marriage The Marriage; Zhenit'ba

Music

Modest Musorgsky (born Karevo, Pskov, 21 March 1839; died St Petersburg, 28 March 1881)

Text

The Composer

Source

Play (1842) by Nikolay Gogol (1809-52)

Unfinished. The first act of Gogol's four-act play set word for word.

 

Premieres

First Performance: Moscow, 4 January 1909 (concert).

First Performance (orch Alexander Gauk): Petrograd (Theatre of Music Drama), 28 October 1917.

First Performance in UK (orch Colin Matthews & Oliver Knussen): London (Collegiate Theatre), 12 December 1981.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Royal Lyceum Theatre), 2 September 1982.

 

Background

An early attempt at operatic composition by Musorgsky, there is scarcely enough of this work to allow for completion in any recognisably authentic way. This has not stopped people from trying. Only Ippolitov-Ivanov attempted a completion of the entire four-act work. Several attempts have been made to orchestrate the fragment that Musorgsky did compose. The version mounted in Edinburgh in 1982 interpolated the fragment, not entirely successfully, within a whimsical drama relating to its composition.

 

Characters

Podkolyosin, an idle bachelor and lawyer (bass)

Stepan, his servant (baritone)

Kochkarov (tenor)

Fyokla Ivanovna, a marriage broker (mezzo-soprano)

 

Plot

Podkolyosin has been persuaded by Fyokla Ivanovna to marry, and she knows of the ideal candidate to take on the wifely role. His friend Kochkarov has already been an unhappy victim of Ivanovna's professional activities, and is looking for a way to gain his revenge.

The Cast

Fyokla Ivanovna
 a marriage broker
Kochkarov
 a friend of Podkolyosin
Podkolyosin
 an unmarried lawyer
Stepan
 Podkolyosin's servant

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