Can anyone tell me about the circumstances of the discovery of this aria
and whereabouts in the opera it occurs?
Tchaikovsky completed The Oprichnik
in 1872, and it received its first production at the Maryinsky Theatre in
1874. The composer quickly became disenchanted with the opera, so he was less
than enthusiastic when approached in 1878 to write an additional areia for
the part of Prince Viazminskii, at the behest of the baritone Bogomor Korsov.
Initially he flatly refused, but eventually he was worn down by Korsov's persistence.
"Here is the aria which I promised you...", he wrote to the singer in October
1878. "If you do not consider it to be suitable, remember that I have done
you a favour, and that at the moment I'm not at all in the frame of mind for
composition... The aria has two couplets. It should be inserted after the
chorus 'Its light flows upon us', page 110 in the vocal score, first line,
4th bar" (i.e.before Andrei's aria in Act iI).
The score of the aria was discovered among tha pepers of the conductor
Eduard Nápravník (1839–1916), Czech composer, conductor at the Imperial Opera
in Saint Petersburg">Nápravník and published as recently as 1986. A recording
of this aria (believed to be the world premier), has been recorded by the
BBC specially for theii Tchaikovsky Experience
on Radio 3and will be broadcast on Saturdy 10 February in the 1700 to 1930
slot. The complete opera wil be heard betwen 0230 and 0500 in the early hours
of Tuesday morning (all times GMT).