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Subject: Subject: Re: An Opera-L Christmas: Tchaikovsky, Rimsky, Puts, Leroux
From: David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David Shengold <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 24 Dec 2017 11:23:10 +0000

text/plain (21 lines)

Not standard repertory, but  the Russian rep can boast also Tchaikovsky's VAKULA THE SMITH/KUZNETS VAKULA (1876), revised as TCHEREVICHKI/THE GOLDEN SLIPPERS (1885) and Rimsky's CHRISTMAS EVE/ NOCH' PERED ROZHDESTVOM (1895), both based on the same Gogol' tale in which Xmas eve and Xmas morning figure in the fantastic plot.
Stravinsky's father Fyodor created small bass roles in both KUZNETS VAKULA and NOCH' PERED ROZHDESTVOM. TCHEREVICHKI, done in 2009 by Covent Garden, was done by NYCO circa 1958 with Richard Cassilly  and Jean Fenn. Then house soprano Beverly Sills did Oksana ( the female lead) for one performance and- as she relates in her 'friendly" autobiography ( not the score settling one) - having sung all evening about how much she wanted the slippers, danced right out of them in the final scene, leaving them visible onstage).
And let's not forget Kevin Puts's very enjoyable and Pulitzer Prize-winning SILENT NIGHT, based on a movie about the 1914 spontaneous armistice between German, French and English soldiers, premiered by Minnesota Opera in 2011 and since heard in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Fort Worth, Calgary, Wexford, Cincinnati, Detroit, Winston-Salem, Atlanta and San Jose. That's a pretty impressive track record for a contemporary opera. Glimmerglass is staging it this summer, conducted by Nicole Paiement.
Another opera set during  (the  then-ongoing) WW I is Xavier Leroux's LES CADEAUX DE NOEL (THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS), premiered at the Opera-Comique in 1915 by a cast including Ninon Vallin and Henri Albers. It was a success and was heard in several other cities including Milan, Rome, Monte-Carlo, Rio de Janiero and Montevideo. I don't know if it's ever been done in North America. In 1919, the Met staged Leroux's earller opera LA REINE FIAMMETTE ( 1903, Opera-Comique starring Mary Garden and Belgian tenor Adolphe Marechal, who in fact created Jean in LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME as well as Julien in LOUISE) in 1919 for Geraldine Farrar, the cast unsurprisingly including the Met's stalwart French bass Leon Rothier as well as Adamo Didur and Hippolito Lazaro under Pierre Monteux in his 'first' Met career.
Happy Christmas Eve - David Shengold


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