FULL THE MARRIAGE (Mussorgsky) Rostov 2015 Artur Achylov, Vitaly Revyakin, Evgenia Dolgopolova, Vladimir Nimchenko
Information on the Performance
- Work Title: The Marriage aka Zhenit'ba Composer: Libretto:
- Composer: Mussorgsky Modest, completed by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov
- Libretto: Modest Mussorgsky based on Nikolai Gogol's comedy Marriage    Libretto Text, Libretto Index
- Venue & Opera Company: Rostov-on-Don State Musical Theatre, Russia
- Recorded: March 5, 2015
- Type: Staged Opera Live
- Singers: Artur Achylov, Vitaly Revyakin, Evgenia Dolgopolova, Vladimir Nimchenko
- Conductor: Alexey Shakuro
- Orchestra: Orchestra of the Rostov-on-Don State Musical Theatre
- Stage Director: Pavel Sorokin
- Stage Designer: Elena Moroz
- Costume Designer: Natalia Zemalindinova
- Lighting Designer: Max Maximov
Information about the Recording
- Published by: Pavel Sorokin
- Date Published: 2015
- Format: Streaming
- Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
- Subtitles: nosubs
- Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PERFORMANCE
Zhenitba (Russian: Женитьба, Zhenit’ba, Marriage) is an unfinished opera begun in 1868 by Modest Mussorgsky to his own libretto based on Nikolai Gogol’s comedy Marriage. This 1842 play is a satire of courtship and cowardice, which centres on a young woman, Agafya, who is wooed by four bachelors, each with his own idiosyncrasies.
The idea to set Gogol’s Marriage to music came from the advice and influence of Alexander Dargomyzhsky, who began to compose his own experimental opera, The Stone Guest, to Alexander Pushkin’s tragedy just two years earlier (in 1866). Dargomyzhsky declared that the text would be set “just as it stands, so that the inner truth of the text should not be distorted”, and in a manner that abolished the ‘unrealistic’ division between aria and recitative in favour of a continuous mode of syllabic but lyrically heightened declamation somewhere between the two.
In 1868, Mussorgsky rapidly set the first eleven scenes of Zhenitba, with his priority being to render into music the natural accents and patterns of the play’s naturalistic and deliberately humdrum dialogue. Mussorgsky’s aim was to create individual musical signatures for each character using the natural rhythms of the text. The composer noted:
I would very much like my characters on the stage to speak like living people, and in such a manner that the character and force of the intonation, supported by the orchestra and forming the background for their speech, would gain its object, that is, my music must be the artistic reproduction of human speech in all its subtle nuances.
The first act was completed in 1868 in a vocal score and the composer noted, that summer:
I have completed the first act. It rained without stopping for three days running and I worked without stopping in keeping with the weather. The Marriage gave me not a minute of calm – so I wrote it.
The score is inscribed with the following details: “The work began on Tuesday, June 11, 1868 in Petrograd (St. Petersburg), and was finished on Tuesday, July 8, 1868 in the village Shilovo, Tula Oblast.”
The Marriage was one of Mussorgsky’s first musical masterpieces. According to one critic, it was an experiment in Russian opera that used “satirical, grotesque musical language, with all its jolting contrasts and exaggerations, when the composer, in the best Russian-Petersburg tradition, mocks his characters but at the same time ‘weeps’ over them.”
The idle bachelor Podkolyosin attempts to find a wife: “Well, when one considers carefully, one sees that marriage can be very useful.” He currently leads a chaotic life, with his poor servant, Stepan, constantly at his beck and call.
A marriage broker, Fyokla Ivanovna, arrives to give Podkolyosin details of a girl she has chosen for him. However, he is more interested in her dowry: “And what kind of dowry will I receive? Let’s start from the beginning and discuss the dowry …” He also worries that she is not sufficiently highly bred for him: “I don’t suppose she is the daughter of an Officer?… So, is this really the best bargain?” Fyokla suggests that he can’t afford be fussy with his poor looks and greying hair!
Unexpectedly Kochkaryov, Podkolyosin’s best friend, turns up and is angry to see the marriage broker. He complains that she has married him off to a troublesome, bossy woman. He sends her away, and decides to take over the match-making duties himself.
He paints an idealistic and hassle-free picture of married life for his friend: “There will be a bird in its cage and some embroidery. Just imagine yourself in your chair, quiet and serene and at your side a little caressing woman, all round and pretty. Her hand will stroke you … like this …” A reluctant Podkolyosin resists Kochkaryov’s demands that he at least visit the girl: “Leave it for now … come on, we’ll go tomorrow.” And Kochkaryov answers: “You’re an idiot and coward! You are even worse … you’re a sissy and an ass!” And Kochkaryov literally shoves Podkolesin out of the door of his apartment. Here the 1st act ends.