Rimsky-Korsakov, Nicolai


Rimsky-Korsakov, Nicolai

May Night (in three volumes, Russian and German libretto)

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakow
(b. Tikhvin, 18 March 1844 – d. St. Petersburg, 21 June 1908)

Majskaja notsch («May Night»)

Comic opera in three acts (1878-9)
on a libretto by the composer after Gogol’s like-named story

December 1871 was a magical month for the young Rimsky-Korsakov. For one, he becamebetrothed to the beautiful and strong-minded Nadezhda Purgold, an excellent pianist who was,at the time, a far better musician than himself. On the night of his proposal the two lovers readaloud from Gogol’s collection of modernized folk tales, Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki(«Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka,» 1831-2), and lingered particularly on the tale «MayNight, or The Drowned Maiden.» Enchanted by the beauty of the language and the richlytextured folk setting, Nadezhda urged the composer to write an opera on the subject. It was asuggestion she returned to again and again after their marriage in 1872, and eventually, in1878, Rimsky-Korsakov set to work on what was to become his second opera, May Night …


Read full preface > HERE

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