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Additional Aria for The Oprichnik

Can anyone tell me about the circumstances of the discovery of this aria and whereabouts in the opera it occurs?

Ian Maxwell

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).

Brett Langston

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