Personalities | Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov | Turn of the Century | Opera

1844–1908, Russian

In spite of being the most prolific of contributors to Russian opera, Rimsky-Korsakov’s stage works have never found a solid place in the mainstream international repertoire. As a youth, Rimsky-Korsakov was encouraged and taught by Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (1837–1910). The young composer displayed an undoubted mastery of orchestration and a keen ear for evocative harmony, which makes it all the more strange that his operas were never fully embraced in the West. Only his final opera achieved lasting popularity, and this was perhaps partly due to the glitzy showmanship of the impresario Diaghilev. The Golden Cockerel is based on an imitation folk tale by Pushkin that was turned into a libretto by Vladimir Nikolayevich Bel’sky. The fantastic nature of the subject was a good match for Rimsky-Korsakov’s exotic music and its visually enticing, though posthumous, premiere ensured a lasting appeal.

Introduction | Turn of the Century | Opera
Major Operas | The Golden Cockerel by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov | Turn of the Century
Personalities | Elisabeth Schumann | Turn of the Century | Opera


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