Island City Opera presents two one-act operas by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: “Mozart and Salieri” and “Kashchey, the Immortal”.
With his own 15 operas, his preparation of performing versions of other works, and his instruction of a whole generation of successors, no other single person has had such a profound influence on a major national operatic style. Yet because his own works are so strongly associated with the supposed “Russian” style (a category he himself heartily rejected), Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas are seldom performed in the West. By presenting this program of two shorter works, we will showcase some of the remarkably varied and highly original work of this great composer.
Mozart & Salieri
In 1830, only five years after the death of composer Antonio Salieri, the famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, taking as foundation a widespread rumor that Salieri had poisoned Mozart, wrote a short verse drama on the imagined poisoning. Rimsky-Korsakov in 1897 set it to music as an opera, scarcely altering a word of Pushkin’s drama.
The identifications with the protagonists that may have been felt by both Pushkin, the acknowledged genius working beyond the bounds of literary convention, and Rimsky-Korsakov, the highly self-critical craftsman devoted to the art and technique of music, make this a particularly engaging drama.
As befits the subject matter, Rimsky-Korsakov let the words of the long-dead librettist guide the musical structure to an extent unsurpassed in his other works.
This opera will be sung in English.
Kashchey the Immortal
Written just a few years later, “Kashchey the Immortal” exhibits an entirely different, and more typical facet of Rimsky-Korsakov’s art. The libretto, written by the composer himself, weds a Russian folk superstition with themes derived from Wagner’s “Parsifal” in a symbolic story of nature and seasons.
With mythic characters rather than psychological portraits, the composer let his music structure the drama, contrasting an adventurous harmonic style inspired by Wagner but prefiguring Debussy, with a simple diatonic folk idiom, in a musically and visually colorful fairy-tale world.
Scene 1 Kashchey’s realm
The beautiful Princess Tsarevna Nenaglyadnaya Krasa is imprisoned by the evil wizard Kashchey the Deathless in his gloomy kingdom, longing for her beloved Prince Ivan-Korolevich. She is upset when looking into the magic mirror, she sees her bridegroom together with Kashcheyevna, the daughter of Kashchey. Kashchey, who also glances into the mirror, is afraid that Ivan could bring him death – he hid his death in the tear of his daughter, whose heart is hard and cold. Many knights were ruined by her beauty, and no one could see her tears. Kashchey breaks the mirror into pieces, and sends Storm-hero Burya-Bogatyr to Kashcheyevna to ask how safely she keeps his death.
Scene 2: Kashcheyevna’s domain
Kashcheyevna prepares a magic potion to lull the Prince to sleep and force him to forget his beautiful Princess. When Ivan-Korolevich enters, she gives him the potion to drink. Burya-Bogatyr suddenly appears, and his wind scatters Kashcheyevna’s charms. Following Burya-Bogatyr, Ivan Korolevich leaves for his dear bride.
Scene 3: Kashchey’s realm
The Princess sings a lullaby to Kashchey. Ivan-Korolevich arrives. He frees his fiancé, but Kashcheyevna pleads with Ivan to remain with her, since he has awakened love in her severe heart. In an impulse of compassion, the Princess kisses Kashcheyevna, and she begins to cry. Invisible voices announce the death of Kashchey. Kashcheyevna is turned into a weeping willow. But Burya-Bogatyr opens the gates to show the lovers the way out of the gloomy kingdom, and into the world of light, Spring, and love.
Special Preview Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 at 7:30PM
Opening Night Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 7:30PM
Sunday Matinee, Sunday January 21st, 2018 at 2:00PM
Friday Date Night, Friday, January 26th, 2018 at 7:30PM
Closing Matinee, Sunday January 28th, 2018 at 2:00PM
Opera run time is approximately 2 hours
Anchor Society Lectures
Island City Opera’s Anchor Society invites you to join them for the Anchor Society Lectures held one hour prior to the curtain.
Single Performance Tickets: Reserved Sofa seats are $45. Front Row Cafe Table Seats (4 seats per table) are $60. Large Table Seats (10 seats per table) are $60.
Discount Season Passes: (Save up to $12. 1 ticket any Performance of each show). General Admission seats $72, Reserved Sofa Seats $81, Large Tables $108 and Front Row Cafe Tables $108.General Admission seats for Adults $40, Seniors $36, Students (13 to 21 with Student ID) $10, and, Child $0.
Drinks will be on sale at the Bar at the rear of the Ballroom before the performance and during intermission and immediately afterwards. Wine will be on sale from the rolling bar near the stage before the curtain and during intermission.
Concessions will be on sale before the performance and during intermission from a variety of concessionaires who will be announce via email prior to the performance.