P.I. Tchaikovsky opera "Mazepa"
Stage production based on the poem by A.S. Pushkin, is a model of extremely complex drama, both in technical and lyrical aspect. P.I. Chaikovsky he took the liberty to write an opera, where the main role is assigned to a negative character, and it is his character that becomes a kind of catalyst for fatal changes in human destinies against the backdrop of grandiose historical events.
Summary of Tchaikovsky's opera "Mazepa"and many interesting facts about this work read on our page.
|Mazepa||baritone||Commander-in-Chief of the Zaporizhzhya Sich Troops, Hetman|
|Maria||soprano||Kochubey's daughter, in love with Mazepa|
|Kochubey||baritone||the governor of the king in the territory of the Ukraine|
|Orlik||bass||loyal father Mazepa|
|Andrew||tenor||an associate of Kochubey, hopes for the location of Mary|
Summary of "Mazepa"
The action takes place in Ukraine, at the beginning of the XVIII century. In the estate of Kochubey on the banks of the Dnieper River is a summer holiday. The guests gathered at a large table, among the guests - the Ukrainian hetman. The girls went to the river, wondering at her lover, and only Maria is not carried away by this fun. In her thoughts - Mazepa. The elderly commander reciprocates the girl and in the midst of the holiday asks for her hand from her father. Kochubey is stunned; he is not going to marry his daughter to a man who has already crossed the 70-year-old threshold. There is a quarrel, an angry and resentful hetman requires Maria to make a choice. She gives preference to the chosen one and leaves with his father's house.
The steward's family is mourned for the heiress's flight. Dejected Kochubey, recalling a recent conversation with the hetman about his possible alliance with the king of Sweden, comes up with a plan: to send a denunciation to the king informing him of Mazepa’s treason. With the help of Iskra and Andrei, the idea turns out to be embodied, but Peter the First, being confident of the hetman’s loyalty, is in a hurry to blame Kochubei’s treachery. Basil falls into a dungeon in the castle hetman. There the prisoner is tortured, Orlik forces the prisoner to sign false confessions.
Maria, in ignorance of her father’s fate, tries to find out Mazepa’s plans and moods with caress. He succumbed to the charms of a young girl, tells her about the intention to become the sole ruler, when the Swedes, with the help of his assistance, will recapture the territory of Poltava.
Suddenly, a mother comes to Mary. In despair and tearfully, she asks her daughter to persuade Mazepa not to execute Kochubey. However, in a conversation, women lose precious time and are late to the place of auto-da-fe. Mother in grief renounces her daughter.
Coming Poltava battle. Andrei unsuccessfully tries to find a sworn enemy on the battlefield in order to avenge Kochubei in an honest battle. However, Andrew himself, having met a traitor, is killed by his shot. Mazepa and Orlik flee under the onslaught of Russian troops. Before his death, the brave comrade of Kochubey sees Maria, who is bent over his bloodied body. She is insane and does not recognize a childhood friend, takes him for a small, abandoned child. Maria, immersed in crazy dreams, sings a lullaby, Andrew dies in her arms.
|Duration of performance|
|I Act||Act II||Act III|
|60 min||65 min.||40 min|
- "Mazepa" by the global idea demonstrates obvious similarity with another opera by Tchaikovsky, "Eugene Onegin"In both works, a young woman appears in the center of the musical narration. Her deep feeling, sacrificial love for a man exposes the pre-existing vices and shortcomings of the chosen one and with monstrous force attracts tragedy that literally overwhelms the life of the main character and her close people. Despite the creative nature love, which originated in the female soul, is a gentle, but surprisingly strong feeling that "triggers" the fatal mechanism of destruction, which causes death, chaos and, in general, devastation.
- Tchaikovsky initially wanted to reflect in the opera a story of love and betrayal, while not focusing on social and military details, so the scene of the Battle of Poltava is somewhat “passing” and is not a dominant accent, despite the epic and huge historical significance of the real event.
- In progress Chaikovsky complained that the growing internal need for self-criticism played a cruel joke with him. If earlier the composer was blamed for the lack of an objective vision of his creations, now this ability has prevailed in his character so much that it completely deprived of inspiration. Faced with this kind of creative crisis, in September 1881, PI. Tchaikovsky decided to abandon the intention to finish the opera, saying that it no longer attracts him. Resume the workflow was only 3 months.
- The composer intends to refuse to introduce the character of the Swedish king into the plot of the opera. According to Tchaikovsky, Karl XII has a very superficial relationship to this psychological drama, which broke out between Kochubey, Maria and the hetman.
- “Mazepa” became a personal test for Tchaikovsky, overcoming which ultimately helped to understand that working under the constraints of theatrical impresarios in a noticeable way deprives the creator of the freedom of expression he needs through art. There is no doubt that choosing between opera and symphonic form, the composer will prefer the latter, despite the fact that the opera is structurally richer.
- When in professional circles the premiere of "Mazepa" in St. Petersburg was subjected to harsh criticism regarding the vocal skills of performers, Tchaikovsky's brother, Modest, threw all his efforts so that the reviews did not reach the composer. Subsequently, Peter Ilyich, having learned the truth, expressed great gratitude to his brother with the words: "You did everything right, at that time the truth could have destroyed me."
The best numbers from the opera "Mazepa"
Kochubey's arioso at the beginning of the 2nd act. The drama-filled party is key in character disclosure. In earlier scenes, Kochubey appears restrained and reasonable, in this aria a hero appears before the audience, capable of deep feelings, absorbed in his own life tragedy.
Kochubey's arioso (listen)
"O Mary, Mary!" - arioso of Mazepa from the 2nd scene of the second act. The unique feature of the party lies in the double impression it creates. The depth of the tender feelings that the hetman supposedly feels for his beloved woman is deceptive. This is an illusion, a sweet lie, behind which lies the conceited, narcissistic, vicious soul of the hetman. This is a complex vocal number, which requires a performer of a delicate emotional game, and provides an opportunity for listeners to consider and recognize such emotional duality.
Arioso Mazepa (listen)
"My dear friend!" - duet of Maria and Mazepa in the second scene of the 2nd act. This is a unique vocal intrigue, carefully thought out beforehand by Mazepa. Influencing the thin strings of the maiden soul, the treacherous villain intends to convince the mistress to renounce his family and become his unquestioning "maid", an ally, who will be there even if the life of her own father lies on the opposite side of the scale.
Duet of Maria and Mazepa (listen)
The history of the creation of "Mazepa"
P.I. Tchaikovsky worked on the opera "Mazepa" in the period from June 1881 to April 1883. It was based on a poem by A.S. Pushkin "Poltava", describing the drama of human destinies in the context of the grand victory of Emperor Peter I over the Swedish ruler Charles XII, who turned the tide of the Northern War. In his work on the poem, Pushkin allowed himself some liberty in the interpretation of events, which had a little negative effect on reliability, but in many respects allowed him to make the characters of the main characters brighter, and the motives of their actions were penetrating and evoking an emotional response.
The opera "Mazepa" came to the composer with difficulty. At different stages of creation Chaikovsky literally forced himself to work on the work, trying to present in the end to the audience a drama worthy of A.S. Pushkin. The poem "Poltava" caused the composer a sense of delight and admiration.
Initially, the intention to create an opera based on "Poltava" captured Tchaikovsky, overwhelmed with the idea of a brilliant incarnation of creative intent, he promptly wrote 4 vocals and a draft of one duet of the main characters. The latter was created based on music from Tchaikovsky's symphonic overture "Romeo and Juliet". The composer was extremely concerned with the realization of the possibility of reflecting psychological tensions in the relationship between Mazepa and Maria, as well as Love and her daughter.
Three summer months of 1881, Tchaikovsky worked on his new opera, but with the onset of autumn the inspiration left the author, and he began to work on the need to complete the work he had begun. In his letter to Sergey Taneyev Tchaikovsky noted that the stage numbers, which he had already composed for the opera, now cause him a feeling of irritation and disgust, creating a painful certainty that what was written is the limit of his possibilities.
And in early December 1881, being in Rome, Tchaikovsky again undertook to re-read Pushkin's poems and began writing music for the stage in which Mazepa and Maria were to participate. It was during this period that Peter Ilyich realized that his opera was a success, and he, as a creator, had all the necessary tools to bring the day of triumph closer. The reason for this enthusiasm was a new reading, a rethinking of the actions and characters of the heroes of the poem, Tchaikovsky imbued with them, although he had not previously experienced a special affection for the characters. In the Italian capital, work on the opera was intensive, but soon the fuse dried up again, and the composer once again became distracted by other compositions, instrumental pieces and ensembles.
In the spring of 1882, Tchaikovsky, staying in Kamenka (a place within the borders of modern Ukraine, formerly part of the Russian Empire), again drew attention to Mazepa. Deciding to complete the work, the composer began to work diligently, but was forced to admit: the intensive creative process took place without much enthusiasm, which had previously invariably contributed to creative work. By September, the opera had practically exhausted the author’s inner potential. In the letters of that period, the composer indicated that he had never experienced such serious difficulties in writing a large-scale composition. The lack of desire to continue to compose Tchaikovsky connected with the fact that he began to be more strict with himself, although sometimes he was overwhelmed by the oppressive thoughts that the talent itself had exhausted itself. In late September, Tchaikovsky set to work on orchestral accompaniment. Only then, finally, did the author have a strong feeling that his work would gain recognition.
The structure of the opera involves 3 acts and 6 scenes. The libretto was written by Viktor Burenin, a Russian poet, playwright and literary critic. Tchaikovsky was not fully satisfied with the text he received: he seemed too “dry,” devoid of the original expression found in the literary source. The libretto was supplemented by the composer, in particular, Peter Ilyich added more original lines from the poem "Poltava" by AS Pushkin. The words of the famous arioso Mazepa from the second act were written by Vasily Kandaurov.
The premiere of the opera was held on February 15, 1884 on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Literally 4 days later, Mazepa was already given at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. Everywhere the performance was warmly received, but the first shows showed one unpleasant moment: despite the musical perfection, the actual performance did not reach the ideal. Singers and singers involved in the first productions, simply could not technically flawlessly cope with the proposed vocal parts.
Currently opera "Mazepa"is a true gift and exciting challenging for any operatic soloist with a pronounced baritone. Costly, from the point of view of vocal skill, the central hero parts are the main cause of infrequent productions on theatrical scenes. On the other hand, due to this circumstance, each premiere becomes noticeable, discussed event in the world of art, allowing a new look at the range of musical talent of a particular artist. "Mazepa" turned out to be a kind of box with a surprise for most The builder, who only in the process, undergoing all the "agony of creativity", began to realize the magnitude and deep sensual nature of the events described by musical means.