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In his last, fifteenth opera, which was never performed during the composer’s lifetime, Rimsky-Korsakov appears as a modernist artist, standing on a par with the most daring reformers of the musical scene at the turn of the century – from the French impressionists and Richard Strauss to Igor Stravinsky and Alexander Scriabin (in During the composition of the second act of the opera, Rimsky-Korsakov was present in Paris at the author’s performance of “The Poem of Ecstasy”). “The Golden Cockerel” absorbs the socio-cultural context of the time, “not the calendar – the Real Twentieth Century” – ranging from the 1905 revolution and student unrest to the mass passion for Freud’s psychoanalysis (one of the key scenes of the first act of the opera is devoted to the interpretation of dreams). At the same time, The Golden Cockerel, like a distorting mirror, reflects the entire history of the Russian opera theater of the 19th century – from Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov to Borodin’s Prince Igor and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko.

The score of “The Golden Cockerel,” nicknamed by Boris Asafiev “a dazzling mosaic of precious sound combinations,” provides for the possibility of polarly different interpretations of the work. The interpretation of conductor Fyodor Lednev and the leading soloists of the Perm Opera is another attempt to solve the mystery of Rimsky-Korsakov’s creative testament.

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