Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. The Tsar’s Bride

The Tsar’s Bride

Opera in four acts

Libretto by I. Tyumenev


Vasily Stepanovich Sobakin,

Novgorod merchant

Martha, his daughter



Grigory Gryaznoi

Malyuta Skuratov





Boyarin Ivan Sergeevich Lykov


Elisha Bomelius, the king’s physician

Domna Ivanovna Saburova, the merchant’s wife

Dunyasha, her daughter, the girlfriend of Martha

Petrovna, the housekeeper Sobakins

The King’s Stoker

Sheena Girl

Young guy


Mezzo soprano



Mezzo soprano

Mezzo soprano





Two noble herdsmen, horsemen, oprichniki, songwriters and songwriters, dancers, boyars and boyars, hay girls, servants, people.

The action takes place in the Alexander Sloboda (in Moscow) in the autumn of 1572.


The opera Tsarskaya Bride is based on the drama of the Russian poet, translator and playwright LA ​​Mey (1822-1862). In 1868, on the advice of Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov drew attention to this play. However, the composer started the opera on her plot only thirty years later.

The composition of the “Tsar’s Bride” was started in February 1898 and finished within 10 months. The premiere of the opera took place on October 22 (November 3) in 1899 at the Moscow Theater of Private Opera S. I. Mamontov.

The action of the “Royal Bride” Maya (the play was written in 1849) takes place in the dramatic era of Ivan the Terrible, during the brutal struggle of the tsarist oprichnina with the boyars. This struggle, which contributed to the unification of the Russian state, was accompanied

by numerous manifestations of despotism and arbitrariness. Tense situations of that era, representatives of various strata of the population, life and life of Muscovite Russia were historically truthfully depicted in the play of Maya.

In the opera Rimsky-Korsakov plot of the play has not undergone any significant changes. In the libretto, written by I. Tyumenov (1855-1927), included many verses of the drama. The bright, pure image of Martha, the bride of the Tsar, is one of the most charming female images in Rimsky-Korsakov’s work. Martha confronts Dirty – insidious, imperious, not stopping at anything in the implementation of their designs; But Gryaznoy has a hot heart and falls victim to her own passion. Realistically convincing are the images of the abandoned mistress of Gryaznoy Lyubasha, the youth of the simple-hearted and gullible Lykov, the calculating and cruel Bomelia. Throughout the opera there is a presence of Ivan the Terrible, invisibly determining the fate of the heroes of the drama. Only in the second act, his figure is shown briefly (this scene is absent from the Maya drama).


Unhappily on the soul of the young tsar’s oprichnik Grigory Gryazny. Recently, he was bored with dashing fun. For the first time in his life he experienced a feeling of overwhelming love. In vain sent Grigory Griaznoy matchmakers to the father of his beloved Martha. The merchant Sobakin flatly denied him, saying that Marfa was already married to boyar Ivan Lykov. In an effort to forget himself, Gregory summoned the oprichniki, headed by Malyuta Skuratov, to his feast. With them came the royal doctor Bomeliy and Ivan Lykov. Guests glorify the hospitality and hospitality of the host. Lykov, recently returned from overseas countries, talks about what he saw. His story ends with a toast in honor of the wise sovereign Ivan IV. Singing and dancing songs and songwriters Gryaznoy entertains his guests. It’s brightening. Everyone diverge. At the request of the owner is only Bumel. Dirty has something important to do with him. Promising to generously reward for the service, he asks the doctor to get him a drug that could be a bewitching girl. Their conversation was overheard by the mistress of Dirty Lubasha. She had noticed before that the beloved had grown cold towards her; Lyubasha was seized with jealous suspicions. But she will not give up her happiness and will cruelly take revenge on the villain-razluchnitsa.

A street in the Aleksandrovskaya Sloboda. It’s getting dark. The people leave the monastery. Among others – Martha and Dunyasha, accompanied by the housekeeper Sobakins, Petrovna. All thoughts of Martha – about the beloved bridegroom, Ivan Lykov. The conversation of the girls is interrupted by the appearance of two unknown riders. One of them stares at Martha. This is Ivan the Terrible. Martha does not recognize the king, wrapped in rich clothes, but frightened by a domineering glance. Dusk is coming. The street is empty. Lubasha sneaks up to the house of Sobakins and looks out the window. The beauty of Martha amazes her. Lyubasha decides to ruin her rival, replacing the poison with a poison potion, which Gryaznym asked. At the knock of Lyubasha comes Bumel. He is ready to fulfill her request, but in return requires love. Lubasha with indignation rejects his claims. But the carefree-joyful laugh of Martha, coming from the house, causes Lyubasha’s new spiritual anguish;

In the house of the Sobakins there are preparations for the wedding. It’s time to fix it, but the tsar’s bridegrooms prevented, and the most beautiful girls were gathered into the palace. Lykov is concerned; excited and Dirty. Finally, Martha returns from the king’s eyes. Everyone calms down, congratulating the bride and groom. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Gryaznoy silently sips a potion into Martha’s chalice. Suddenly Malyuta appears with the boyars; he came to report that the king chose not to Dunyasha, as the lovers had hoped, but to Martha.

Chamber in the royal chamber. Sobakin’s heavy meditation, deeply saddened by the illness of his daughter, from whom no one can cure her, is interrupted by the appearance of Gryaznoy. Oprichnik reports to Martha that, under torture, Lykov confessed to intending to lime a potion to the Tsar’s bride and, at the behest of the Tsar, was executed. Martha can not withstand the severity of grief. Her puzzled mind seems to be in front of her not Dirty, but her beloved fiance, Vanya. He tells him about his wonderful dream. Seeing the madness of Martha, Gryaznoi is horrified to be convinced that he was deceived in his hopes: instead of bewitching, he ruined her. I1e can bear the anguish at the sight of the suffering of her beloved, Gryaznoy confesses to the perfect crime: he poisoned Martha and slandered the innocent Lykov. Towards him from the crowd Lubasha runs out and confesses that she has changed the potion. Gryaznoy, seized with rage, kills Lyubasha.


“The Tsar’s Bride” is a realistic lyrical drama full of acute scenic situations. At the same time, its distinctive feature is the predominance of rounded arias, ensembles and choruses, based on beautiful, plastic and penetrating expressive melodies. The dominant importance of the vocal principle is emphasized by a transparent orchestral accompaniment.

A decisive and energetic overture with its bright contrasts anticipates the dramatic nature of subsequent events.

In the first act of the opera, an agitated recitative and aria (“Where have you gone, gone before, disappeared?”) Dirty serves as a string of drama. The choir of the oprichniki “Sweeter than honey” (fugetta) is sustained in the spirit of majestic songs. In Lyaskov’s arias, “Everything else” reveals his lyrically gentle, dreamy appearance. Choral dance “Yar-hmel” (“As behind the river”) is close to Russian dance songs. Mournful folk tunes resembles the song of Lyubasha “Equip quickly, mother dear”, performed unaccompanied. In the grime of Gryaznoy, Bomelia and Lyubasha, feelings of mournful excitement prevail. The duet of Gryaznoy and Lyubasha, Lyubasha’s arioso “After all, I love you only” and her final arioso create a single dramatic rise, leading from sadness to the violent confusion of the end of the act.

The music of the orchestral introduction to the second act imitates the light bell of the bells. The initial chorus sounds serene, interrupted by the ominous chorus of the oprichniks. In the maidenly tender aria of Martha “How I’m looking now” and the quartet is dominated by a happy pacification. A hint of alertness and secret anxiety introduces the orchestral intermezzo before the appearance of the Lubasha; it is based on the melody of her sorrowful song from the first act. Scene with Bumel – a tense duo-duel. Feeling of deep sadness imbued the aria of Lyubasha “The Lord will judge you.” Reckless revelry and brave daring are heard in the dashing song of the oprichniki “That is not falcons”, close in nature to Russian bandit songs.

A solemn, quiet orchestral introduction opens the third act. Terzet Lykov, Gryaznoy and Sobakin sounds slowly and sedately. Careless, carefree arietta Gryaznogo “Let it all.” Arioso Saburova – a story about the royal bride-show, Lykov’s aria “A cloud raining past”, a sextet with a chorus filled with peace and joy. With folk wedding songs associated with the grand “How the falcon flew on the heights.”

The introduction to the fourth act conveys the mood of doom. Restrained sorrow is heard in Sobakin’s aria “I did not think, I did not guess.” The quintet with the choir is full of intense drama; The recognition of Dirty creates its culmination. Dreamly fragile and poetic aria of Martha “Ivan Sergeich, do you want to go into the garden?” forms a tragic contrast next to the desperation and frenzied drama of the meeting between Gryaznoy and Lyubasha and the brief final arioso of Gryaznoy “The martyr is innocent, forgive.”

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Summary Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov. The Tsar’s Bride