Rimsky-Korsakov: May Night

Rimsky-Korsakov: May Night
Composer Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov
Artist Sveshnikov Academic Choir
Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
Andrey Chistiakov conductor
Format 2 CD
Cat. number 94036
EAN code 5028421940366
Release May 2010

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About this release

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) composed his comic opera May Night in 1878-9, at a time when he was fascinated in the stories for the supernatural and the fantastic. It was also at this time that he had been appointed to a teaching role at the St Petersburg Conservatory – a role he thought himself ill prepared for. Much to the astonishment of his fellow composers and friends – Borodin, Balakirev, and Mussorgsky he threw himself in to the study of counterpoint, writing canons, fugues – all far removed from the spirit of Russian Nationalism in music he and his friends had championed. To show that he hadn’t deviated from the path of music inspired by Russian folklore and culture, May Night, his second opera is perhaps his most ‘Russian’.

Based on a story by Nikolai Gogol, May Night, or the Drowned Maiden, Rimsky uses Gogol’s story virtually unaltered, writing his own recitatives and some of the texts to arias. This adaption of ordinary speech or dialogue from the written story gave the work a colloquial folk like feel. Many of the tunes in the opera are from a collection published in 1872 by Alexander Rubets of Ukrainian folk songs. Rimsky’s orchestration is superb – glittering and highly illustrative of the supernatural realm of the ‘rusalki’ and in places foreshadows the music Wagner wrote in act 2 of Parsifal for the depiction of Klingsor’s Garden.

A footnote to the premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1880 – the role of Levko’s tyrannical father was sung by Fyodor Stravinsky, who, two tears later would become the father of Igor Stravinsky.

Other information:
- Rimsky’s operatic masterpiece, recorded in 1995.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. May Night: Overture (Orchestra)
  2. May Night: Act 1: No.1: Round of the Millet
  3. May Night: Act 1: No.2: Serenade (Levko)
  4. May Night: Act 1: No.3: Duet (Levko/Hanna)
  5. May Night: Act 1: No.4: Tale (Levko)
  6. May Night: Act 1: No.5: Recitative and Spring-Song
  7. May Night: Act 1: No.6: Hopak Scene (Kalenik/Girls)
  8. May Night: Act 1: No.7: Trio (Mayor/Levko/Hanna)
  9. May Night: Act 1: No.8: Recitative and Song about the Mayor
  10. May Night: Act 2: Scene 1: No.9: Trio (Mayor/Distiller/Sister-in-Law)
  11. May Night: Act 2: Scene 1: No.10: Scene with Kalenik and the Distiller’s Tale
  12. May Night: Act 2: Scene 1: No.11: Song about the Mayor, Scene and Trio beginning

Disk 2

  1. May Night: Act 2: Scene 1: No.11: Song about the Mayor, Scene and Trio conclusion
  2. May Night: Act 2: Scene 1: No.11: Song about the Mayor, Scene and Trio conclusion
  3. May Night: Act 2: Scene 2: No.12: Finale
  4. May Night: Act 2: Scene 2: No.12: Finale
  5. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.13: Scene of the Rusalki
  6. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.13: Scene of the Rusalki
  7. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.14: Scene and Ritual Songs
  8. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.14: Scene and Ritual Songs
  9. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.15: Finale
  10. May Night: Act 3: Scene 2: No.15: Finale