Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. The Golden Cockerel


Fiction in the faces, opera in three acts (with introduction and conclusion)

Libretto by VI Belsky on the tale of Alexander Pushkin


King Dodon

Tsarevich Guidon

Tsarevich Afron

Voevoda Polkan

Amelf’s Cloth


Shemahan queen

The Golden Cockerel






Tenor Altino



The action takes place in the Thirtieth Kingdom.


In October 1906 in the notebooks of NA Rimsky-Korsakov appeared the first musical sketches for the opera “The Golden Cockerel”. At the same time, he announced his intention to a friend, the librettist VI Belsky (1866-1946). The work was very intensive

(briefly interrupted due to a trip to Paris). The score was completed in August 1907.

“Golden Cockerel” – the last, the fifteenth opera of Rimsky-Korsakov, created by him a year before his death. Interest in fairy-tale subjects accompanied the composer in all his creative ways. However, in recent years, he was increasingly saturated with their modern sound, all the more consistently denounced the monarchical power. Already in “Saltan” is shown an absurd, funny and stupid king. Later, “Kashchei the Immortal” takes on an ominous color, becomes a symbol of that gloomy force that destroys all living things, aspiring to freedom – it’s no wonder that in 1905 the execution of this opera resulted in a political demonstration. And, finally, the “Golden Cockerel” sounded like an outspoken satire on the Russian autocracy. The composer did not conceal this idea. In a letter to his disciple, M. O. Steinberg, he wrote: “I want to completely disgrace King Dodon.”

The opera based on the poem of the same name by Pushkin (1834). At the direction

of the composer, the librettist boldly developed her political motives, gave it a modern orientation, and thereby strengthened the satirical sound of the work. Taking advantage of the Pushkin text, Belsky supplemented him with large scenes, sketched the opera’s characters in relief. So, for example, he introduced a new character – a housekeeper Amelfu, who is occupied with the domestic affairs of the king, while Polkan is his watchdog – state affairs. By the way, the name of Polkan is not in Pushkin’s – he’s called Voevoda, and his speech is limited to uttering only a few phrases. And the sons of Dodon – Gvidon and Afron – are only mentioned by the poet. All these additions are made by Belsky talented, in the spirit of Pushkin. Freely developed in the opera is the image of the Shemakhan queen or, in other words, the whole content of the second act is added. This is a complex, fantastic image. Cruelty of the queen is not just a trait of her character. The authors of the opera sought not only to show the temptations of sensual beauty: autocratic power is even more shamed with the participation of the queen. Moreover – she with the help of the Stargazer punishes the death of Dodon.

The opera turned out to be really modern: it talks about how rotten the tsarist authorities, creating crimes, violating their promises, torn apart by internal contradictions. These political allusions did not pass by censorship. For the seriously ill composer, the ordeals began, probably accelerating his demise. But for all the requirements to make bills that distort the ideological content of the opera, Rimsky-Korsakov responded with a refusal. “So,” he wrote bitterly, “Cockerel in Russia can not go.” I do not intend to change anything. ” The struggle against censorship continued, the ban on the opera was imposed even by the Moscow Governor-General himself. And yet, after the death of the composer, the premiere of “Petushka” was held. September 14, 1909 in Moscow, at the theater SI Zimin opera was warmly received by the public.

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Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. The Golden Cockerel