Summary Tikhon Nikolaevich Khrennikov. Mother
Opera in four acts (eight scenes)
Libretto by AM Fiko
Pavel Vlasov, her son
Workers, Paul’s friends
Sizov, an old worker, Uncle Mazina
Maria Korsunova, widow, merchant, neighbor
Director of factory
Isai Gorbov, timekeeper
President of the court
The action takes place in Sormovo on the eve of the 1905 revolution.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The basis of the plot of the opera was Gorky’s novel “Mother” (1906) – a classic work of socialist realism. “In the summer of 1950 – says T. Khrennikov, – I read Gorky’s novel And it immediately became clear that I will be sure to write an opera based on her story and understand why: the revolutionary spirit is connected to the work of Gorky with deep penetration into the recesses.. of the human soul… Nilovna’s image immediately entered my consciousness. ” The composer began work on opera in 1953, after the completion of the new edition of the opera “In the Storm”. To deepen the atmosphere of the opera, the composer visited Gorky. Here he met with his wife Zalomov, who served as a prototype of the image of Pavel Vlasov, met. with the
The opera was completed in 1956. The premiere took place on October 26, 1957 in Moscow, at the Bolshoi Theater of the USSR.
The libretto, written by the playwright AM Fiko, is close to the Gorky story. In the center of the opera is the emotional experience of Nilovna, who through love for her son joined the ranks of the fighters for the revolution.
House Vlasov on the outskirts of the working suburb. Autumn Saturday evening. Pelageya Nilovna, awaiting the return of her son, is alarmed by the change that has taken place in him – Paul became silent, always immersed in books. Her neighbor, a broken widow, Maria Korsunova, claims that, according to rumors, he is organizing a sect. After appearing, at last, with a bunch of books, Paul tells his mother that starting today they will have his friends every Saturday. Nilovna asks her son to tell her – who these friends are, what books he reads at night. After first hesitating, Paul tells his mother about his revolutionary comrades, about forbidden books that teach how to fight for the truth. At the gathering are workers Andrei Nakhodka, Nikolai Vesovshchikov, Fedor Mazin, as well as city girls, among them Sashenka. What is happening in the house is of great interest to the factory timeskeeper Isai Gorbov. But the window is curtained. Then Gorbov asks Maria Korsunova to follow her neighbors. Maria hastens to warn Nilovna that the timekeeper is a spy: let Pavel be more careful.
Two weeks later, Andrei Nakhodka settled in Vlasovy. Cheerful, cheerful, he immediately fell in love with Nilovna. The find tells her that Paul and Sashenka love each other, but they restrain their feelings – the family can distract them from the cause to which they decided to devote their lives. The next gathering is going to. Yegor Ivanovich, just released from prison, an experienced revolutionary, a fellow countryman of Nilovna, is participating in it. Soon after the departure of the underground members of the house, gendarmes brought by Gorbov burst into the house. They are looking for leaflets, which are increasingly appearing in the factory. Finding nothing (illegal literature buried near the house), they still arrest Pavel, Nakhodka and Vesovshchikov who stayed for the night. Yegor Ivanovich returns, who, having seen the gendarmes, hid nearby. It is still necessary to distribute leaflets, – he says to Nilovna, – then the suspicion will fall from Paul and his friends. Nilovna recalls that Korsunova somehow suggested going to her as an assistant – to trade at the factory with lunches. Perhaps, together with dinners will manage to carry leaflets…
Factory watchmen carefully searched at the checkpoint workers – every day someone carries leaflets. But Nilovna, who hardly drags the heavy buckets on the rocker, makes an exception. At the factory this lunch break is unsettled. The workers are outraged by the injustice – the director decided to deduct a penny from each worker ruble to drain the marshes. A rally is happening spontaneously. A young worker, Samoilov, calls for quitting his job and declaring a strike. But the director arrests him, threatening the rest with a fine. The strike was not a success. Nilovna, along with the meals, gives out leaflets unobtrusively.
Pavel and Andrei Nakhodka return from prison. Their friendship is even stronger. When the mother comes from the factory, Pavel warmly thanks her for helping in their common cause. Now the underground has a new task – they must prepare for the First May. Learning that Paul decided to carry the banner in front of the demonstration, Nilovna and Sashenka can not hide their alarm: for this is again jailed for him! But Paul’s decision is firm.
Early May Day in the morning. In the central square of the settlement, workers’ pickets block the road to the few who are going to work on that day. The square is gradually filled with people. Loving to have fun Korsunova starts songs and dances. When Nikolai Vesovshchikov, who had just been released from prison, appeals to the people to give an open fight, Pavel stops him – a holiday and a demonstration should not be thwarted. With a banner in his hands, Pavel becomes the leader of the demonstration. Suddenly, a menacing wall of soldiers rose in front of her. The crowd trembled and began to thin out. A group of brave souls, singing the revolutionary song, moved forward. But the forces are too unequal. Soldiers seize unarmed people. On the empty square remains a red banner with a broken shaft. Nilovna carefully raises him.
In a city apartment on a rainy autumn evening Sashenka eagerly awaits Nilovna – she must bring Paul’s consent to escape. All Sasha’s thoughts are directed to the beloved, who has been languishing in prison for six months already. There is a knock on the window. It’s Vesovshchikov, who escaped from prison. But Paul and his friends did not agree to escape. Returned from a meeting with her son, Nilovna said that they had decided to wait for the court to tell the judges and the people the whole truth.
Courtroom. The defendants are given the final say. As a sentence Paul’s passionate speech sounds: the chains of the autocracy will be foiled from the people, the working class will win, turn labor into creativity and joy! The judges hastily retire to the meeting. Relatives are allowed to bid farewell to the defendants, who are waiting for it – all know this in advance – the eternal reference to Siberia. But not fear overwhelms Nilovna’s soul, but joy and pride for her son. His speech must be printed, and Nilovna herself will carry her through the villages. Sasha does not hide her love anymore – she will go to the exile for Pavel, will help him escape. The verdict of the court of Pavel and his friends is a revolutionary song.
Station, a third class room. A drunken merchant, hurling credit cards, treats to a motley company. Nilovna appears in the clothes of the pilgrim pilgrim. At the agreed place, she is handed a suitcase filled with leaflets with Paul’s speech. Suddenly Nilovna notices the person who is following her, Isai Gorbov. It’s too late to run. The guard sent by Gorbov accuses her of stealing and wants to take her suitcase away. Then Nilovna opens it and throws leaflets into the crowd. She talks about yesterday’s trial, her son and his speech, which is being taken to people so that they can learn the truth. While the gendarmes are pushing the crowd, surrounding the woman with a tight ring, Nilovna manages to scatter the last leaflets. Her voice is angry and menacing: “The blood of reason will not be poured, the seas of blood will not quench the truth…”.