Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Christmas Eve' From Moscow

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Conductor Valery Polyansky. Conductor Valery Polyansky. (Svetlanov Hall, Moscow)
Operavore

Based on a Ukrainian story by Gogol, Rimsky-Korsakov's opera "Christmas Eve" is one of the few that are specifically set at Christmas time. The same story was also set by Tchaikovsky in "The Slippers," with Rimsky-Korsakov's version putting greater emphasis on the tale's more fantastic and mystical elements.

Perhaps unexpectedly, at least for an opera set at Christmas time, the story includes not just a witch and a sorcerer, but even the Devil himself — along with many allusions to ancient, pagan rituals.  But the spirit of Christmas prevails, allowing love and joy to win out in the end.

On World of Opera, host Lisa Simeone presents Rimsky-Korsakov's "Christmas Eve" in a performance from Svetlanov Hall at the International Center for the Arts in Moscow. The stars are tenor Oleg Dolgov and soprano Anna Pegova, with conductor Valery Polyansky.

Cast:

Vakula: Oleg Dolgov (tenor)
Oksana: Anna Pegova (soprano)
Solokha: Lyudmila Kuznetsova (mezzo-soprano)
Chub: Andrei Antonov (bass)
Devil: Maxim Sazhin (tenor)
Tsarina: Elena Evseeva (soprano)
Mayor: Sergei Toptygin (baritone)
Sexton: Leonid Bomstein (tenor)
Panas: Alexander Markeev (bass)
Patsyuk: Ruslan Rozyev (bass)

Russian State Symphony Capella Orchestra and Chorus
Valery Polyansky, conductor

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