Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. Koschei the Immortal


(Autumn Fairy Tale)

Opera in one act (three pictures, going without interruption)


Koschei the Immortal

Unreal beauty

Ivan the King’s son


Storm-bogatyr – the wind




Mezzo soprano


Invisible voices (backstage choruses).

The action takes place in the kingdom of Kashchei and in the Thirtieth Kingdom.


In November 1900, the music critic EM Petrovsky (1873-1918) offered Rimsky-Korsakov his libretto for the opera Ivan Korolevich (Kashchei the Immortal). It interested the composer, although much he did not like – above all, the vagueness and inconsistency of the presentation, the mannerisms of poetic speech.

“In development and in terms of we with him [that is, with Petrovsky] disagree,” wrote Rimsky-Korsakov, “we do not understand each other and will never understand.” Later he himself composed a libretto according to the subject line suggested by him. Music was created from June 1901 to March 1902.

Rimsky-Korsakov took advantage of a common story from the Russian folk epic (this story was also used in the ballet “Firebird” by Stravinsky). But some new, self-developed dramatic motifs were introduced into the libretto. Among them, the main one is connected with the image of Kashchey’s daughter, whose tear is enchanted by his death. The ideological content of the opera turned out to be multi-valued and appeared in an allegorical form: the five actors of the fairy tale are not so much specific individuals endowed with a unique individuality as many symbolic figures.

The most difficult is the image of Kashchei: this is the personification of both vicious, cruel force, and an obsolete old age that strangles all life. The world of Kashcheev’s kingdom involuntarily evoked

the idea of ​​an autocratic power that held down the strength of the people, and Kashchei was associated with the appearance of the then-mighty chief procurator of the Synod of Pobedonostsev, whom A. Blok called the sorcerer who bewitched the whole of Russia with his glass eye. Deprived of the kind, warm feelings and seductive daughter of Kashchei, killing those who crave the death of Kashchei, or, in other words, freedom. One such knight is Ivan the King’s son, and his assistant is a violent wind Storm-hero – the embodiment of the spontaneous forces of the people, all sweeping away on their way. The prince frees the Tsarevna from Kashcheev’s captivity to an unremarkable beauty; in her image is embodied all the most human, ethically persistent and perfect.

The premiere of the opera took place on December 12 (25), 1902 in Moscow, at the PG Solodovnikov Theater. The success was great, but the political meaning of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “autumn fairy tale” had not yet been unraveled. The events of 1905 helped in this, which caused a huge social upsurge. Radically-minded students of the St. Petersburg Conservatory asked the composer to allow them to put Kashcheya on their own. The gathering was intended (of course, behind the scenes) to help the victims of Bloody Sunday on January 9. The composer himself and AK Glazunov helped the understanding of the complex score. The performance, staged March 27 (April 9) in the premises of the Passage Theater, took the form of a revolutionary demonstration. The police demanded that the audience leave the hall; The concert was then canceled. The opera sounded like a prophecy about the near death of the autocracy.


Sadly, gloomily in the Kashcheyev kingdom. Deaf autumn. The sky is covered with thick autumn clouds. Stunted trees and bushes are half-bare, half covered with yellow and red foliage. Behind the wall stood rocks, covered with moss. The Princess is languishing in imprisonment Unhealthy beauty, forcibly separated from her beloved Ivan the King’s son. She is praying that the evil wizard will give her the opportunity to see the groom. In the magic mirror, the princess sees Kashchei’s daughter, and next to her Ivan the Prince. She is happy, but also embarrassed. And Kashchey was frightened – his own death is foreseen for him – and he broke the mirror. From the dungeon he summons a Stormy Buoyant, sends him to his daughter, conjures, to be more sure, she bury his death in his teardrop. And the Tsarevna asks a violent wind to find her fortified – all of them are beautiful – and tell him how she languishes in captivity.

The Thirtieth Kingdom, where Kashcheyevna lives, is located on a rocky island off the boundless blue sea. Nearby there were wonderful gardens with shrubs of bright red poppies and pale lilac whitens. Lunar night goes to the sea Kashcheyevna with a cup of magic drinking. She knows that the King’s son will be here soon. Many of the heroes – the “seekers of the death of the gray-haired Kashchei” – she killed with her sword. The same fate awaits Ivan the Prince. Not knowing this, in search of the Princess, he comes to a wonderful garden. Blinded by the beauty of Kashcheyevna, the Korolevich for a moment forgets about his beloved bride. Magic drink and kiss Kashcheyevna puts him to sleep, swords, but hesitantly stops: the face of a sleeping knight is beautiful. And the moment when, trying to overcome herself, she is preparing to strike, the messenger of Kashchei storms-the bogatyr bursts in. The violent wind dispels the enchantments of the sorceress. Having woken up from a dream, the Korolevich with Bogatyr rushes to Kashcheevo kingdom. There rushes Kashcheyevna.

Meanwhile, the Tsarina lulled his lullaby Kashchei, saying unkind words: “Sleep, sorcerer, fall asleep forever, evil death take you!” In the sleepy kingdom, the King of the Wind breaks in on the wings of the wind. The joy of meeting with the princess is immense. He wants to take her away from the evil world. But Kashcheyevna stands on the way of lovers. She is ready to let go of the Princess, but can not part with the knight – passion awakened in her cold soul. The princess felt sorry for Kashcheyevna, approached her, hugged her, kissed her. A new, unexplored feeling was experienced by Kashchei’s daughter. She seemed to be reborn: “My eyes for the first time cry… And as the dew flower fragrant, my heart refreshes tears…” Kashcheyevna turns into a beautiful weeping willow. And along with her tears, death comes to Kashchei. Storm-bogatyr opens the gate wide. Lovers go out into the clearing, covered with spring fresh greens and flowers. Green trees and bushes. The sky is clearly blue. The sun shines brightly. From the realm of death, the path to the realm of freedom, the flowering of vital forces, has been opened.


“Kashchei the Immortal” occupies a special place among the other operas of Rimsky-Korsakov. The bright beginning of life, which he claimed with his creativity, here gives way to the depiction of gloomy, shadowy sides. The musical language of the composer changes completely: for the depiction of the Kashcheev kingdom and the cruel charms of Kashcheyevna, he applies the sharp and refined and spicy harmonies that amaze with their novelty and unusualness. However, they fully correspond to the expression of the poetic intent of Rimsky-Korsakov, who contrasted the gloom of Kashcheev’s kingdom in the “autumn fairy tale” in the light of the Berendeyev kingdom in his “spring fairy tale” – “Snow Maiden”.

In a small orchestral introduction, the main theme of Kashchei, deadly-creeping, as if numb, is compared with the expressive, close folk melody of the Tsarevna. Deep human pesennost is fully revealed in her sad complaint “Days without a lumen, sleepless nights.” Gradually the song grows into a duet of the Princess with Kashchei; the latter is characterized by soulless intonations, complex harmony. After fortune-telling on the mirror, the Storm-bogatyr bursts free-as gusts of wind rush through the music. Against this background, there is a tercet: Kashchei and Tsarevna join the voice of the hero. The ominous warehouse has an arioso of Kashchei “Nature has been comprehended by the mystery, an immortality has been found to me.” The unseen voices of Kashcheev’s suite sound like a mockery of the Tsarevna, languishing in captivity: “Blizzard is white, blizzard is laid down pine and spruce.” The pictorial beauty of this unfolded choral episode, which ends with the first picture, makes a strong impression. In the end, the orchestra develops the main theme of Kashchei.

Otherwise, his daughter is described. The music of the second picture – in the Thirtieth Kingdom – is exquisite, full of magic charm. Other features of the image – Kashcheevna-warriors appear in her march-like dance with a sword “Give me your charms! Light a fire of love in your chest, poppy red.” The negligent is full of Korolevich’s arias, “O case, the night and the garden are fragrant.” A spicy dope flutters from his duet with Kashcheevna “The mind is clouded, the cheeks like poppies”. The painting ends with the invasion of Bogatyr with his violent song. There is a short final tercet.

In the orchestral intermezzo, the development of the theme of Kashchei is again given. Her echoes are heard in the lullaby Tsarevna “Bayu-bai, Kashchei gray-haired,” which sounds like a verdict. The joy of the meeting is embodied in the singing duet of the Tsarevna with the King’s son. “Separations have passed for an hour, with me my friend is welcome.” A turning point in music comes with the arrival of Kashcheyevna. Drama is growing. From the house the voice of Kashchei is heard. The quartet is formed as the last stop in action before the denouement. The culmination moment of the opera is connected with the kiss of the Princess: not with a sword was defeated by Kashcheyevna, but with pity. The purity and spiritual nobility of the Princess is sung in a brief orchestral episode preceding the death of Kashcheyevna. Equally laconic is the death of Kashchei, raging in rage, “There is no death, I will live, I will live.” There are invisible voices of the choir, solemnly proclaiming: “

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Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. Koschei the Immortal