An Introduction to Tchaikovsky's Operas by Henry Zajaczkowski

By Henry Zajaczkowski

Recognized essentially because the composer of The Nutcracker Suite and different mythical items, Tchaikovsky was once additionally a famous musical dramatist. right here, within the first publication dedicated to the topic, his operas are explored extensive: from his most famed, Eugene Oneginand The Queen of Spades, to such lesser-known works because the Maid of Orl?©ans. The social and mental complexity of those operas, let alone their musical brilliance, ascertain Tchaikovsky's recognition as his country's maximum opera composer. He displayed nice versatility within the diversity of genres during which he labored, from the tragic to the fantastical, the allegorical to the comedian, and he hired a wealthy number of musical kinds, growing operas which are nonetheless played extensively today.In this thorough and interesting exam, writer Henry Zajaczkowski either assesses and re-appraises those works. He presents an outline of Tchaikovsky's opera occupation, whole with synopses, musical and dramatic research, and ancient context that areas the composer within the pantheon of serious masters of the shape.

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13 At the start of Act 1 scene 3 and again at its close, Pushkin’s text for the song of the servant girls picking berries, which Tchaikovsky sets to a folk-like tune, is employed to sandwich Onegin’s meeting with Tatiana after he has read her letter. This intensifies the folk music/art-music ambivalence, for as Tchaikovsky’s folk chorus appears twice, it both shows life going on as usual 38 An Introduction to Tchaikovsky’s Operas around Tatiana, prior to Onegin’s dashing of her hopes, and life going on around her afterward just as before, however devastated she may now be.

That recognition is the first step in permitting the macrocosm and the microcosm to come Pushkin and the Mature Operatic Breakthrough 37 together in the greatest unity that they are allowed. The opera’s heroine, perhaps even more than the heroine as Pushkin himself portrayed her, bears out the truth of the universal sentiment as expressed by Shakespeare: Love is too young to know what conscience is; Yet who knows not conscience is born of love? Immediately after the shepherds’ pipings and the music conveying the heroine’s anxious feelings, her nurse enters to awaken (the still awake) Tatiana.

Morozova here asserts family and personal pride above all else by disowning her son (whom she feels has betrayed the family honor and herself by joining the Tsar’s bloodthirsty henchmen). Similarly, in Eugene Onegin the point of no return comes when Lensky asserts the imagined right to possess a lover, Olga, over whom he jealously and tragically challenges Onegin to the duel in which he himself will die. The reflective and imposing ensemble-chorus (the finale to Act 2 scene 1) which follows that challenge is one of the greatest achievements of nineteenth-century opera.

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