Opera Scotland

Rachmaninov's Operas in Scotland

Posted 15 Feb 2022

Rachmaninov composed three one-act operas: Aleko (Moscow 1893), The Miserly Knight (Moscow 1906) and Francesca da Rimini (Moscow 1906).

Aleko received its first performance in Scotland on 24 August 2008 in the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.  The performers were the Mariinsky Opera of St Petersburg under their Musical Director, Valery Gergiev.

The cast of this concert performance included the bass Yevgeny Nikitin in the title role.  His wife Zemfira was sung by Irina Mataeva, with Sergey Semishkur as the Young Gypsy.  Sergei Alexashkin sang the Old Gypsy, with Nadeshda Vasilieva as the Old Woman.

A second concert performance was given on 6 May 2018 by Scottish Opera at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.  Stuart Stratford conducted a cast led by Evez Abdulla as Aleko.  Ekaterina Goncharova was his wife, while her lover was sung by Oleg Dolgov.  The Old Gypsy was played by Alexei Tanovitski, the Old Woman by Anne-Marie Owens, the only non-native Russian speaker in the team.

The Miserly Knight has not previously been performed in Scotland.

Francesca da Rimini was also first performed in Scotland on 6 May 2018, by Scottish Opera in a concert performance at Glasgow Theatre Royal.  Stuart Stratford again conducted the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.

The singers were led by the bass Alexei Tanovitski and tenor Oleg Dolgov.  They represented two poets, the classical Roman Virgil and his guest on the guided tour of Hell, the mediaeval Italian Dante Alighieri.  They eavesdropped on the three characters from the Malatesta family of Rimini.  Lanciotto Malatesta was sung by bass-baritone Evez Abdulla, with Oleg Dolgov appearing again as his younger brother Paolo.  Ekaterina Goncharova was Francesca, wife of one and lover of the other.

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