Ivan the Terrible
19 Jun - 14 Jul 2021
Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky were great friends.
Rimsky-Korsakov’s first opera, Ivan the Terrible – also known as The Maid of Pskov – was composed shortly before Eugene Onegin.
David Pountney directs and Mariinsky conductor Tatarnikov visits The Theatre in the Woods, coming from Moscow.
The tyrannical Ivan sweeps through the city of Novgorod, on a wholesale pillage. In the picturesque town of Pskov, Ivan billets himself at the house sees a beautiful young woman. Something stays his hand and the city is spared. Could it be because he has discovered his long-lost love child, Olga?
Ivan the Terrible is a spectacle, a hidden gem, with expansive music, passionate plot and vivid crowd scenes.
The exciting cast includes Evelina Dobracheva as Princess Olga, Liubov Sokolova as Vlasyevna, Carl Tanner as Tucha, and Clive Bayley as Ivan the Terrible.
An opera in four acts
Sung in Russian with surtitles in English
Music: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Libretto: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
First performance: 1873 Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
David & Amanda Leathers
François Freyeisen & Shunichi Kubo
VERA SHELOGA, Olga’s mother ∙ EVELINA DOBRACHEVA
IVAN SHELOGA, her husband ∙ JOHN IEUAN JONES
NADEZHDA, Vera’s sister ∙ AMY KERENZA SEDGWICK
PRINCE TOKMAKOV, Nadezhda’s husband ∙ DAVID SHIPLEY
VLASYEVNA, Olga’s nurse ∙ LIUBOV SOKOLOVA
OLGA ∙ EVELINA DOBRACHEVA
TUCHA, leader of a partisan group of rebels against Tsar Ivan ∙ CARL TANNER
PRINCE TOKMAKOV, the Mayor of Pskov and supposedly Olga’s father ∙ DAVID SHIPLEY
BOYAR NIKITA MATUTA, an elderly aristocrat promised to Olga by her father ∙ ADRIAN THOMPSON
VLASYEVNA, Olga’s nurse ∙ LIUBOV SOKOLOVA
PERFILYEVNA, a nurse ∙AMY KERENZA SEDGWICK
STEPANIDA MATUTA, Olga’s friend ∙ ROSIE ROWELL
TSAR IVAN THE TERRIBLE ∙ CLIVE BAYELY
BOMELY, the Tsar’s physician ∙JOHN IEUAN JONES
PRINCE AFANASY VYAZEMSKY, a courtier ∙ PHIL WILCOX
YUSHKO VELEBIN, a messenger from Novgorod ∙ COLIN MURRAY
A SENTRY ∙ MARK BONNEY
The evening begins with a Prologue, which tells the story of a secret passion. The main opera is set 20 years later. Attempting to unify Russia, Tsar Ivan “The Terrible” is re-asserting his authority over rebellious regions. He has recently brutally subjugated and destroyed nearby Novgorod, just 200 versts from Pskov. The city of Pskov fears a similar fate. But when Ivan comes to subdue Pskov, he encounters intimate and familial issues that precede his political objectives.
The Prologue Boyarin Vera Sheloga
Vera confesses to her sister Nadezhda that her daughter Olga is the result of an affair with a mysterious stranger while her husband, Ivan Sheloga, was away fighting for Tsar Ivan. When her husband unexpectedly returns, Nadescha saves the situation by pretending Olga is her child.
The main action takes place 20 years later. In the meantime Nadezhda married the Prince Tokmakov, but both Vera and Nadezhda died young. Tomakov has brought Olga up as his own daughter.
Act 1 Scene 1 Pskov
Olga is now a young woman and in love with the rash and impassioned partisan Mikhail Tucha. Her supposed father, Prince Tokmakov, has promised her to an older Boyar, Matuta. Tucha and Olga’s impassioned love duet is interrupted when her “father” and Matuta arrive. Olga hides and Olga overhears Tokmakov admitting to Matuta that Olga is not in fact his daughter, and that her real father is unknown.
News reaches Pskov that Ivan the Terrible is on a campaign to re-assert his authority over regions attempting independence and has recently brutally subjugated and destroyed the city of Novgorod. Pskov fears its turn will be next. Tokmakov tries to persuade the people to welcome Tsar Ivan, but Tucha resolves to continue to fight for independence.
Olga is confused by the discovery of her doubtful paternity. The terrified people greet Ivan with the traditional gifts of bread and salt, and Olga is given the responsibility of serving his wine. It is soon apparent that there is a mysterious chemistry between them. Ivan questions Tokmakov about the sisters Vera and Nadezda, and when he realises that Olga is Vera’s daughter, he also understands that he is her father. His anger melts away and he forgives the city.
Olga and Tucha meet secretly in the forest, but Matuta, furious that his marriage with Olga has been prevented, surprises them with an armed force. They leave Tucha for dead and abduct Olga. Olga is brought before Ivan, but he rebukes her captor. His heart is touched by Olga and her memory as a child of praying for the Tsar. Father and daughter forge an emotional bond. Meanwhile, Tucha has survived and now mounts an attack on Ivan’s encampment. Olga begs Ivan to show mercy towards him, but in the confusion of the attack, she is shot.