COLA BRUNION (MASTER OF CLAIM)
Opera in three acts (six scenes)
Libretto by VG Bragin
Ml de Teom
Woman with a torch
Pulyar, foreman of the city
Baritone or bass
Citizens of Klamsi, soldiers, guests of the Duke, servants.
The action takes place in Burgundy in the late 16th century.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The idea to write an opera on the subject
of Romain Rolland’s novel “Cola Bryunion” (1913) was submitted to Kabalevsky by AM Gorky. Librettist V. G. Bragin with the permission of R. Rolland and based on historical documents, he composed a story that is very different from the literary source. In the book, the events are presented in the form of 14 memorial stories, not directly related to each other. In opera, events are brought together in time and attributed to the end of the 16th century, when France was ruled by Henry IV. The authors of the opera looked at the events described in the book, through the eyes of Soviet artists. They focused mainly on the conflict between the artist from the people and the patron-duke. In the center of the opera is the scene of the burning of the statue of Bryunion by the duke. In the final, a popular uprising flares up, and Kola, having learned of the duke’s atrocity, joins the rebels. As their leader is shown Gambi, whose image is re-interpreted in comparison with the story. A more modest place is given to the theme of Kol’s love for Germain – “Laska” (Celina).
convey the character and color of the era, Kabalevsky studied French folk music for about two years. The composition of the opera itself lasted about a year (1937).
Most of all the composer succeeded in the images of the protagonist and the people. The image of Cola – a skilful woodcarver who is filled with “the life of the earth and all living things” (R. Rolland) turned out to be juicy and psychologically multifaceted. He is a man with a broad and kind view of the world, an indefatigable merry fellow and wit, active, passionately in love with life, staunch and courageous. The image of the people is embodied not only in choral and dance scenes, but also in symphonic intermissions. From these intermissions and overtures grew, became a popular, symphonic suite.
R. Rolland closely followed the work of the composer and helped him with his advice; he wrote in one of the letters: “I received the clavier of the” Master from Clamsi “(as the opera was originally called) and played it many times with great pleasure. I think that you can count on a live success with the public, since the composition is clear, full of life, movement. In general, your work is one of the best I know in the new Russian music written for the stage. “
The premiere of the opera took place on February 22, 1938 on the stage of the Leningrad Small Opera House.