Opera in four acts with an epilogue
Libretto by S. Parnock
Tatul, the Armenian prince
Princess Almast, Tatul’s wife
Ruben, the battle comrade of Tatula
Gayane, the servant and confidante Almast
Shaykh, Shah’s approximate
Ali-Murad, Shah’s military leader
Ashug, the court singer of the Shah
The generals of the Persian Shah
Fool in the palace of Tatula
An old fortune teller
The courtiers in the Shah’s palace, Sazandari, messengers, girls-weavers and embroiderers.
Time: the beginning of the XVIII century.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The opera was created on the basis of the poem “Taking Tmkabert”, written in 1902 by the famous Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan (1869-1923). The poet used in his work folk tales and legends about the true historical events of the first half of the 18th century – the siege of the Tmuk fortress by the Persian shah army, the courageous and courageous Armenian prince who led the people in the liberation struggle, and his ambitious wife who betrayed his homeland.
For a long time Spendiarov cherished the dream of creating a national Armenian opera, but his early musical and stage experiences were unsuccessful. The meeting with Tumanyan in 1916 and the personal participation of the poet in drawing up the preliminary plan for the opera “Almast” inspired the composer. But the work on the
The powerful Persian ruler Nadir Shah is furious with military failures, his plans of conquering Armenia fail. For many months, the soldiers of Nadir Shah are trying to seize an independent Armenian city – Tmkambert Fortress. But Prince Tatul with his team bravely and staunchly defends it. Desperate to break the resistance of courageous Armenians in open battle, Nadir Shah resorted to cunning by the advice of an approximate sheikh. He decides to seduce Tatul’s wife, the beautiful Almast, and with her help penetrate the fortress. The best ashug secretly tells her about the love of Nadir Shah, about his wealth and fame and promises a crown.
The mellifluous ashug songs disturbed the peace of mind of the ambitious Almast. The thought that she might become a Persian shahina poisoned her consciousness. In a dream she utters, and the secret mystery of the princess is recognized by the young servant Gayane. The girl decides to keep an eye on the mistress. From the window of the fortress wall, Almast observes how Prince Tatul reflects the Persian attack. His courage and courage delight the princess. But she does not long admire her husband. The agonizing doubts again seize it. At this moment, the envoy of Nadir Shah, Ashug, again appears before the princess. He glorifies the beauty of Almast, captivating the heart of the ruler of the world. Vain, full of pride, the princess can not fight temptation. Meanwhile, the brutal struggle of Armenians with the Persians ended. Tatul at the head of the army returns to the fortress victorious; the people welcome him.
A magnificent feast in the Tmkambert fortress on the occasion of the victory over the Persians. The wine flows like a river. One by one, toasts are raised for the heroes of Armenia, bravely defending their homeland. Princess invites guests to start funny dances. But she tries in vain to hide from Tatul his emotional confusion. In a fit of lust for power, Almast calls on the prince to conquer foreign lands and share the crown with her. But noble Tatul alien robbery feats. “I only raise the sword in defense,” he answers with dignity to the princess. Tatul’s words dispel hesitation Almast: she decides to commit a crime. Generously treats the princess guests and guards. Seeing that drunken guests fall asleep, Almast gives the shah a conditional signal. With a burning torch, she rushes to the window, shaking them in the darkness of the night. Discovering treason, Gayane in horror awakens Tatul, his friend Ruben, guard. But late – the enemy is already in the fortress. Ruben with a group of soldiers breaks through the ring of enemies. The traitor meets Nadir Shah with a low bow.
Nadir Shah is not pleased with the victory achieved by cunning and cunning. There is no peace and happiness in the occupied land. A terrible disappointment befell and Almast. The shah does not trust the betrayer of the homeland. Not the crown, but the destiny of the concubine awaits Almast. The severity of the crime oppresses her, and Almast throws words in the face of the tyrant that are full of contempt and hatred: “My Tatum is the sun of a battle camp! You are prettier than him and brave!” He did not take fortresses from the change of women, did not buy victories by deceit, enemies in open defeated struggle “. Embraced by a thirst for vengeance, Almast raises a dagger on the shah. She is seized and leads to the execution.
Under the leadership of Ruben, the combat companion of the deceased Tatul, the rebelling Armenian people liberates the fortress. The Persians are expelled. Crowds of the jubilant people welcome Armenian soldiers chasing the enemy.
“Almast” is an opera, endowed with emotional power and colorful expression, which speaks of the deep comprehension of Armenian folk art. A great place in it is given to the courageous choruses and dances of soldiers, the stages of processions and feasts. The characters of the main characters – Tatul, Almast, Nadir Shah – are expressively and multifaceted. Symphonic episodes complement the broadly written out background of the action. The music of the first act is marked by a cold, harsh color. The monologue of Nadir Shah is a musical portrait of an oriental despot, unbridled in his vanity and malice. The Persian march, with its gradual increase in sonority, with bellicose cries, fanfare signals, a sharp rhythm, characterizes the wild, formidable force of the enemy. The story and the song of Shaykh about the beauty of Almast “Oh shah, to win every way is worthy” are full of sensual, bewitching melodies. Arioso Nadir-Shah “Come to her house” draws a flaring passion in it. The solemn prayer of the leaders completes the act solemnly.
In the music of the second act, lyrical episodes are interwoven with heroic episodes. The tender and sad song of the weavers-girls “Day and night the grief is still the same” (based on the Armenian people’s motives) is imbued with a feeling of love for the native land. Nervous speech Almast (conversation with Gayane), interrupted by frequent stops, change of rhythm, dissonances, conveys the spiritual confusion of the princess. And again the sad song of the girls sounds. The symphonic picture depicting the battle of the Armenians with the army of Nadir Shah is full of heroic pathetic: the motif of Nadir Shah appears in the warlike sound of a pipe against the backdrop of heavy bass; he is opposed by a musical motif Tatul – bright and joyful, as a victorious cry. Arioso Almast “How can I overcome depression”, which characterizes its agonizing duality, it is painted in warm tones, approaching the warehouse of Armenian folk songs, then it becomes an ominous color. The bizarre melodic drawing and orchestration accompany the appearance of the fortuneteller and the scene of the spell. Ashug’s song “Captured by a singer”, close to folk improvisations, captivates the richness and beauty of melodies; this is one of the best numbers of the opera. In the final of the act, the jubilant march-anthem of the Armenian-winners (authentic folk song) sounds.
The extensive orchestral introduction of the third act conveys the festive atmosphere of a merry feast. Triumphant joy sounds in the arioso of Ruben and the choir of guests (the melody of the victorious Armenian march-hymn again appears). Ariozo Tatula “Do not value fame, but your friendship” has a pathetic character. Mournful chorus – requiem memory of fallen heroes – contrasts with an energetic, courageous chorus “Not an eagle in the night.” Table songs are replaced by dances: graceful, graceful dance of girls and fiery-temperamental dance of men (both are based on folk tunes). Bright comedy episode – the song of the Jester, ridiculing the campaign of Nadir Shah. Dialogue Almast and Tatula reveals a profound difference of their characters. Exalted dance Almast precedes the dance of soldiers. Orchestral episode of betrayal Almast is painted in gloomy colors. In the final act,
The fourth act is opened by the monologue of Nadir Shah, a gloomy reflection on the frailty of life, fame and love. In the dialogue between Almast and Nadir Shah, the wrathful speech of Almagusta is opposed to the dispassionate shah of the Shah. Arioso Almast “Do not blossom the flower of the gloomy rocks” covers a wide range of feelings: hatred, rapture (when you remember Tatul) and grief (“I know there is no forgiveness on earth”). Then the orchestra sounds an ominous mourning music.
The final of the opera is an apotheosis, a monumental mass scene. Arioso Ruben, his heroic appeal to the struggle grows into a solemn chorus, glorifying the homeland, the people and freedom.
1 The narrative of the plot and music of the opera is given in a new version.