Opera Scotland

Sorochintsy Fair 1942Russian Opera and Ballet Company

Read more about the opera Sorochintsy Fair

This production seems a remarkable enterprise at any time. In the middle of a World War there seems some patriotic justification. Stalin's 'Soviet Union' had just switched from siding with Hitler and was now supporting the allies. A group of exiles living in London took the view that Russian culture should be fashionable, and that a Russian opera might be a commercial success, even sung in Russian. Anatole Fistoulari, Eugene Iskoldoff and George Kirsta managed to find a financial backer in Jay Pomeroy, later to set up the New London Opera at the Cambridge Theatre after the war. The choice fell on the essentially unknown The Fair at Sorochintsi, as it was titled.

Musorgsky's final opera was nowhere near completion at the time of his death, and several attempts were made to complete it. The version seen here, orchestrated by Tcherepnin, opened in Monte Carlo in 1923, and was eventually seen in London a decade later. This  production opened in London, at the Savoy Theatre with a cast led by the great emigre Russian soprano Oda Slobodskaya. as Khivria, with the largely unknown Kyra Vayne as alternate. Several other company members went on to successful careers. Vayne's memoirs give a vivid account of events.

After a successful three-week run at the Savoy, the company started a lengthy national tour, including Edinburgh, followed by a further London season at the larger Adelphi Theatre before touring again. The production included a substantial element of dance, choreographed by Catherine Devillier, who had been a successful ballerina in her day. Music interpolated for this purpose included Glinka's Ruslan and Ludmila, for an overture, and Musorgsky's own Night on a Bare Mountain as a ballet in the third act.

Cast details are taken from a programme in the A M Gardiner collection at the Mitchell Library.

Performance Cast

Tcherevik a villager

Arsène Kirillov (Nov 30; Dec 1, 2m, 3, 5e)

Marian Nowakowski (Dec 2e, 4, 5m)

Parassia Tcherevik's daughter

Nina Lenova (Nov 30; Dec 2e, 4, 5m)

Zoe Valevska (Dec 1, 2m, 3, 5e)

Khivria Tcherevik's wife, Parassia's stepmother

Kyra Vayne (Exc Dec 1)

Nina Lenova (Dec 1)

Kum an old crony of Tcherevik

Lipa Balmont (Nov 30; Dec 1, 2m, 3, 5e)

Mr A Ritch (Dec 2e, 4, 5m)

Gritzko a youth

Edward Boleslawski

Afanasi Ivanitch the Priest's son

Otakar Kraus


Marian Nowakowski (Nov 30; Dec 1, 2m, 3, 5e)

Lipa Balmont (Dec 2e, 4, 5m)

Performance DatesSorochintsy Fair 1942

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

30 Nov, 19.00 1 Dec, 19.00 2 Dec, 14.00 2 Dec, 19.00 3 Dec, 19.00 4 Dec, 19.00 5 Dec, 14.00 5 Dec, 19.00

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