Home > Forum > Vakula and Tsar Saltan

Vakula and Tsar Saltan

Amanda Holden's New Penguin Opera Guide (page 754), and its earlier manifestation, The Viking Opera Guide (page 870), contain the assertion that "the swan princess's motif [in Rimsky's Tsar Saltan] is based, probably unconsciously, on a beautiful melody from Tchaikovsky's opera Vakula the Smith; the opening is identical, though changed to the major mode." The article is by Edward Garden, but I think I remember reading something similar years ago in a book by Gerald Abraham. I do not have a score of Vakula, but I do have a VS of Cherevichki (as well as a VS of Tsar Saltan), but so far I cannot find the Tchaikovsky melody referred to. Can anyone help me here?

Vincent Deane

In reply to Mr. Deane's enquiry, Edward Garden covers the point in fuller detail in his 'Master Musicians' biography of Tchaikovsky, quoting the relevant material from Vakula the Smith as musical extract No. 8(a) (Vakula's aria in C minor, Act 2 scene 1). Depending on whether one consults the book in its original (1973) pagination, or in that of the cenntenial (1993) reprint, the extract appears on p. 56 or p. 52, respectively. The influence on Rimsky-Korsakov as Professor Garden outlines it is apparent.

Henry Zajaczkowski

This discussion is closed and has been archived, but you are welcome to try our new forum at:

This page was last updated on 05 November 2013