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Sorochintsy Fair Sorochinskaya Yarmaka

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Modest Musorgsky (born Karevo, Pskov, 21 March 1839; died St Petersburg, 28 March 1881)


The Composer


Story The Fair at Sorochintsy (1832) by Nikolai Gogol (1809-52).



Unfinished - composed sporadically 1876-81.

Completed and orchestrated by Anatol Lyadov and others:

First performance: Moscow (Free Theatre), 8/21 October 1913.

Completed and orchestrated by César Cui:

First performance: Petrograd (Theatre of Musical Drama), 13 October 1917.

Completed and orchestrated by Nikolai Tcherepnin:

First Performance: Monte Carlo (Opéra), 1923.

First Performance in UK; London (Fortune Theatre), 17 February 1934.

First Performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Empire Theatre), 24 November 1941.



Musorgsky's career as a composer was chaotic, and he left a number of works in an unfinished state. This particularly affects his operas. Even Boris Godunov was left in a condition where several versions can be performed. None of his other operas was completed, though Khovanshchina was in a condition that allowed both Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich to effect workable completions, The other three operas are far more fragmentary, and it is not possible to complete anything that is recognisably by Musorgsky, though attempts were made with Sorochintsy Fair. They have failed to catch on. The Tcherepnin completion took over after the First World War. The wartime production was an important event at the time, involving extensive London runs at the Savoy and Adelphi Theatres, with extensive provincial tours arousing considerable interest, including an Edinburgh run in 1941, and a visit to Glasgow a year later.. The Edinburgh concert in 1991, part of a Festival survey of all the operas, stuck with those scenes Musorgsky had himself composed.


Main Characters

Tcherevik, an elderly villager (bass)

Parassia, his daughter (soprano)

Khivria, Tcherevik's wife, her stepmother (Mezzo-soprano)

Kum, an old crony of Tcherevikr (bass)

Gritzko, a youth (tenor)

Afanasi Ivanitch, the Priest's son (tenor)


Plot Summary

The opera is essentially a comedy of Ukrainian village life, in which Gritzko is eventually permitted to marry Parassia. Khivria was opposed, but her campaign (and reputation) collapse when her own long-standing affair with the priest's son is revealed.

The Cast

Afanasi Ivanitch
 the Priest's son
Black God
 a youth
 Tcherevik's wife, Parassia's stepmother
 an old crony of Tcherevik
 Tcherevik's daughter
 a villager

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