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Opera in three acts (1884)

Music and Libretto by Peter Ilitsch Tschaikowski

based on the libretto by Wiktor Petrowitsch Burenin and the poem Poltawa by Alexander Puschkin

Opera in concert in Russian

Thursday, 21 February 2019, 7 pm

Content / Background

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote three operas based on works by Alexander Pushkin. All three end in tragedy, but none is so full of doom-laden, insane love, political entanglements and bloodthirsty cruelty than Mazeppa. The young Mariya rejects her young suitor Andrei because she is in love with the far older Cossack commander Mazeppa. Against the will of her parents, she follows the charismatic man. Her father Kochubey intends to take revenge on Mazeppa by revealing secret plans to stage an uprising, but the tsar does not believe him. Kochubey fails, and his adversary Mazeppa has him executed. When Mariya learns of this and is forced to witness her father’s beheading her love begins to waver. Mazeppa then really does incite an armed revolt against the tsar together with Swedish troops, but the rebellion is crushed. During his escape he shoots Andrei and leaves Mariya to her fate. At the end, she sits in the overgrown garden of her parents’ home, cradling the dying Andrei in her arms. She has lost her mind and sings him a lullaby. Tchaikovsky concentrates much more on the tragic love story than Pushkin’s original poem Poltava (1829) does. To heighten the tragedy, he invented Andrei as an additional character. The composer was evidently interested in this young woman’s love for a far older political troublemaker that flouts social conventions and the conflict with her vengeful parents. To portray the volatile family situations, Tchaikovsky adapts numerous Russian folk songs, and this intimate mood contrasts effectively with the big choral scenes. The premiere in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre on 15 February 1884 was given a decidedly lukewarm reception by both the audience and the press. For subsequent performances, Tchaikovsky repeatedly revised the text. Whether this contributed to the gradually increasing popularity of the work is debatable, but following its indifferent start Mazeppa quickly became a crowd-puller and a fixture in the repertoire, at least in Russia, that was found more and more often on programmes in western Europe as the 20th century progressed.

Cast

Conductor

Eugeny Brazhnik

Biography
Mazeppa

Aleksei Isayev

Biography
Maria

Olga Tolkmit

Biography
Andrej

Igor Morozov

Biography
Wassili Kotschubei

Mikhail Guzhov

Biography
Ljubow Kotschubei

Larisa Kostiuk

Biography
Orlik

Georgii Ekimov

Biography
Iskra

Ivan Volkov

Biography
Orchestra and Choir

Orchester und Chor der Helikon Oper Moskau

Biography

Tickets Buy tickets now

Mazeppa

Theater an der Wien,Wien

Date/Time Venue/Location Price Ticketlink
Thu, 21.02.20197:00 pm Mazeppa
Theater an der Wien, Linke Wienzeile 6Wien1060
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