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*Deutsch

Rachmaninoff, Sergei

Aleko (1892)

Duration: 56 minutes
Opera in one act

Libretto by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko based on Pushkin's poem 'The Gypsies' (R)

Scoring
S,A,T,Bar,B; chorus 2.picc.2.corA.2.2-4.2.3.1-timp.perc:tgl/tamb/cyms/BD-harp-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).


Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.



World Premiere
4/27/1893
Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Conductor: Ippolit Altani
Company: Bolshoi Opera

Roles

ALEKOBaritone
YOUNG GYPSYTenor
OLD GYPSYBass
ZEMFIRASoprano
OLD GYPSY WOMANContralto
Chorus of gypsieschorus SATB


Time and Place
A camp of gypsies


Synopsis

A band of gypsies has pitched its tents for the night on the bank of a river. Beneath a pale moon, they light campfires, prepare a meal and sing of the freedom of their nomadic existence. An old gypsy tells a story. Long ago, he loved Mariula who deserted him for another man, leaving behind Zemfira, their daughter. Zemfira is now grown up, has her own child, and lives with Aleko, a Russian who has abandoned civilisation for the gypsy life. Hearing this story, Aleko is outraged that Zemfira’s father took no revenge on Mariula. But Zemfira disagrees. For her, as for her mother, love is free, and she herself has already tired of Aleko’s possessiveness and now loves a younger gypsy, one of her own people. After dances for the women and the men, the gypsies settle down to sleep. Zemfira appears with her young lover, whom she kisses passionately before disappearing into her own tent to look after her child. Aleko enters and Zemfira taunts him, singing about her wild lover. Alone, Aleko broods on the catastrophe of his relationship with Zemfira and the failure of his attempt to flee the ordinary world. As dawn comes, he surprises Zemfira and her lover together. In a torment of jealousy he kills them both. All the gypsies gather, disturbed by the noise. Led by Zemfira’s father, they spare Aleko’s life but cast him out from them for ever.


Moods
Dramatic, Romantic


Subjects
Relationships, Literary


Recommended Recording
Sergei Leiferkus/Maria Guleghina/Anatoly Kocherga/Ilya Levinsky/Anne Sofie von Otter/Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Neeme Järvi
Deutsche Grammophon DG 453 4532

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Aleko(Vocal Score)> Details
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