Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. Christmas Eve



Opera in four acts (nine scenes)

Libretto by NA Rimsky-Korsakov based on the story of NV Gogol




Chub, the elderly Cossack

Oksana, his daughter

Solokha, widow, rumored to be a witch

Blacksmith Vakula, her son

Panas, Chubov Kum

Diak Osip Nikiforovich

Patsyuk, an old Cossack, a witch doctor


Baba with a purple nose

Baba with an ordinary nose

Mezzo soprano












Girls, sailors, Dikan Cossacks and Cossacks. Witches, sorcerers, dark and light spirits. The images of Kolyada and Ovsena. Morning (Venus) and other stars.

Court gentlemen and ladies. Footmen.

The action takes place in Little Russia, in the village of Dikanka, in the palace and in the airspace.

Time is the XVIII century.


The plot of the story of Gogol, published in 1832 in the collection “Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka”, has long worried Rimsky-Korsakov. But he considered himself not in the right to take up the development of this plot, since he was already used in Tchaikovsky’s opera Cherevichki (“The Vocula Blacksmith” in the original version). But in 1893 Tchaikovsky died, and Rimsky-Korsakov did not consider himself more connected with any moral obligations. He conceived his opera differently than Tchaikovsky – not in the lyrical and everyday terms, but in the fabulous, with the involvement of a fantastic element. He also wanted to connect this story with ancient pagan beliefs, which were reflected in the ceremonial side of Russian peasant life.

Rimsky-Korsakov explained: “Bathing and Yarilo consulted mostly around the time of the summer solstice, and Kolyada and Ovsens near

the winter.” Ritual songs with the names of Kolyada and Ovsenya are sung at Christmas, since Christmas. “The birth of the sun in the old days was celebrated on Kolyada, when it turns on summer, but this turn coincides with the most severe frosts, snowstorms and snowstorms and with the most frantic range of unclean spirits and witches. ” Hints of such rites were in the Gogol’s story. Rimsky-Korsakov widely developed them in his libretto; He also strengthened the features of science fiction associated with the depiction of the forces of nature.

The opera was started in the spring of 1894 in the following year finished. Presented to the management of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, she was detained by the censorship, since among the actors there was a queen (in the story of Gogol Catherine II), and representatives of the Romanovs’ house were then forbidden to be shown on the opera stage. Nevertheless, the composer managed to overcome the resistance of censorship, and the opera was performed at the Mariinsky Theater on November 23 (December 10) in 1895.


Late in the evening, on the eve of Christmas, Solokha’s mother, Vakula’s mother, flies out of the hut from the hut. On the roof of the other hut – Damn. He was very angry at Vakula, who in the church so painted his figure, that even devils in hell were laughing. In order to take revenge on the blacksmith, the Devil wants to steal the moon from the sky, blow up the blizzard, then Chub does not get off the stove, will stay at home, and Vakula will not be able to visit his beloved Oksana, Chubov’s daughter. No sooner said than done. The devil with Solokha fly away and hide in the blue of the night. The bizarre black cloud, like its shape, is approaching the month, which begins to sway in the clouds, and then completely breaks down. It’s getting dark. The snowstorm is rising.

Panas walks through it, walks to Chuba’s hut. Nothing can stop the kum: they are going to visit Diaco. And Vakule can not sleep: in doubt, he wanders around Chubovaya hut – will Oksana love him? Meanwhile, the blizzard intensified. Having wandered in the darkness, without finding the hut of Diak, Chub comes back. But he can not find his hut. Chub decides to visit Zoloch. It’s brightening. Again the month and the stars are shown in the sky.

Can not sleep and Oksana: preying in front of the mirror, she admires herself. Invisibly entered Vakula admired her beauty. But it’s not so easy to get hold of the beauty’s heart. She is bored, waiting for her friends to build; sailboats will come, tell a fairy tale. And here they are! One of the girls in the new boots. Oksana complains that no one will give her such a gift. In response to Vakula’s readiness to get any cherevichki Oksana, mocking, requires such that she herself carries the queen. Will get it – marry him, but no – let him go.

Solokha and the Devil are heated by the stove: it was cold in the sky on a frosty evening. Dancing, hugging. The dance is interrupted by a loud knock at the door. In the house are bags with coals. In such a bag, shaking out the coal from it, Solokha barely manages to hide the Devil, as enters the Head, one of her many admirers. Only he drank a glass of vodka – and again a knock. Solokha hides his head in another bag and admits Diak. But his courtship was short-lived: they knock again. Solokha hides Diac in the last free bag. Comes Chub. Lovely meets Solokha welcome guest. However, Vakula returns home unexpectedly. In a joke, the terrified Solokha hides Chub in the same bag where Diac is already sitting, and she herself leaves. Vakula wants to take out bags from the house, but they seemed very heavy to him. But in fact, more recently, he bent five-kopek, broke the horseshoe: melancholy completely drained the young man. The stubborn blacksmith does not want to succumb to the steepness, he puts all three bags on his back and takes them out of the hut.

Vakula with bags goes to her smithy and dumps them here. On this bright night, young people are caressing in front of the windows. There are games. Panas, turning the fur coat over on his own, portrays a goat. Girls shower it with snow. Oksana is also cheerful. Shadowy stands aside Vakula: he decided to leave the village and bids farewell to the proud girl. Oksana is confused: will not he put his hands on himself from grief? But again, the general merriment captivates her. The youth unleashes sacks, one after the other getting out confused Chub, Diak and Head. Such a strange appearance of unlucky Solokha fans is greeted by young people with unrestrained laughter and intricate jokes.

What to do next Vakule? With a small shoulder bag where, as it seems to him, there are forge accessories, he goes for advice to the old witch doctor Patsyuk. The blacksmith looks in amazement as he sits in his house on the floor in Turkish. Before him are two wooden bowls: one with dumplings, the other with sour cream. Dumplings, spilling out of a bowl, flop into sour cream and, turning over, go to his mouth. Hardly having recovered from surprise, Vakula asks Patsyuk how to contact him with an evil spirit to make her help in his grief – “It’s not far to walk around, who has the devil behind his shoulders” – calmly, continuing to eat, answers Patsyuk. In disbelief Vakula removes the bag from his shoulders – where the Chert pops out. He is ready to help him if the smith sells his soul. But when Vakula grabbed him by the collar, threatening with the cross sign, The devil promises to do whatever he wants. Vakula orders to deliver him to the Queen. The devil turns into a winged horse, Vakula jumps on him, both disappear in the darkness.

Vakula rushes on her horse in the airspace. Play, dance the stars, dance dance. The clouds are coming in. I got my games and devilish evil spirits – among them Patsyuk and Solokha, trying to block Vakule’s way. But already through the haze can be seen the capital, lit by lights.

At the St. Petersburg ball, surrounded by courtiers, the Queen appears. Before her falls Vakula’s face. He liked her direct, bold speech. The tsarina gives the blacksmith his most expensive cherevichki.

Back Vachula rushes with a precious burden. Light spirits accompany him. The morning light turns on the sky; Kalyada and Ovsen pass by with their retinue. It’s dawn. In the distance one can see Dikanka, illuminated by the first rays of the sun. You can hear the sound of bells and singing.

The sudden disappearance of Vakula gave rise to various persuasions: some say that he hung himself, others that he was drowned. Sadly Oksana: only now she realized who she had lost. Suddenly, from nowhere, Vakula appears with her in front of her with the royal tinsels in her hands. But they do not need now Oksana: and without terns she is ready to marry a blacksmith. I agree with this and Chub, who did not like Vakula before, can not forgive Soloha perfidy. The youth comes. The Head, Diac and Panas enter. Everyone is happy to return Vakula. The wedding will be fun.

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Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. Christmas Eve