The Tsar’s Bride

Original name – «Mireasa Ţarului»
Libretto: Iliya Tiumenev, after the homonim opera of Lev Mei
Stage Director: Eleonora Constantinov People`s Artist
Music Director: Nicolae Dohotaru People`s Artist
Set Designer and Costumes: Irina Press Master of Arts
Choreography:Eugen Gîrneţ Master of Arts
Chief Choirmaster: Oleg Constantinov Master of Arts

World premiere: 22 October 1899, Private Opera Theatre S.I. Mamontov, Moscow.
Premiere in Chisinau: 12 January 1959, Moldovan State Opera and Ballet Theater.
The premiere of a new version: 22 October 2010, National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.


The protagonists

Marfa - soprano -  

Vasiliy Sobakin - bas - 

Grigory Gryaznoy - bariton - 

Malyuta - bas - 

Likov - tenor - 

Lyubasha - mezzo-soprano - 

Bomeliy - tenor - 

Lady Saburova - soprano - 

Duneasha - mezzo-soprano - 

Petrovna - mezzo-soprano - 

The Tsar - 

Conductor - Nicolae Dohotaru, People s Artist


The history of creation

“The Tsar’s Bride” opera was created based on the homonym story written by the dramatist translator and Russian poet Lev Mei (1822—1862). For the first time, Rimski-Korsakov became acquainted with the content of work in 1868 at the suggestion of the Russian conductor and composer Mili Balakirev but till the creation moment there passed about 30 years.

The process of creation lasted 10 months: from February 1898 till 22 October 1899 when took place the world premiere on the stage of Private Opera Theater S.I. Mamontov from Moscow.

The events described by Lev Mei in the “Tsar’s Bride” opera take place in the tragic era of Ivan the Terrible in the period of fierce rivalry which existed between nobility and oprichniks (bodyguards). The fight which contributed to the unification of Russian state was accompanied by numerous manifestations of despotism and tyranny. In this opera were described with great accuracy the tense situation of that era, the representatives of various social classes and their daily life.

The opera subject created by Rimski- Korsakov did not suffer essential changes. The libretto written by Iliya Tiumenev (1855—1927) contains many drama verses. Marfa, the Tsar’s Bride is one of the most charming woman figures in Rimski-Korsakov creations. Pure and bright image of Marfa is opposite to that of Gryaznoy - sly and authoritarian but at the same time he has an affectionate heart and becomes a victim of his own passion. Remarkable are compelling images of neglected mistress of Gryaznoy – Lyubasha,   sincerity and innocence of Lykov, cruelty and strong character of Bomelius. Although the image of Ivan the Terrible like a puppeteer directing the fate of opera heroes appears in the second act of the opera for some moments (this appearance is missed in the story of Lev Mei), his invisible presence is felt in each part of this opera.

The action takes place in Aleksandrovsky settlement in autumn 1572 year.


The soul of Grigory Gryaznoy is full of sadness and sorrow and his juvenile entertainments are not so interesting for him anymore. For the first time Gryaznoy felt the pure love but he vainly send his matchmakers to the father of his sweetheart Marfa. Merchant Sobakin refused Gryaznoy because his daughter has been already promised to Ivan Lîkov. He wanted to forget her so Gryaznoy invites the oprichniks together with Maliuta Skuratov to a great feast. At the feast came also the doctor of Bomelius together with Ivan Lîkov. The guests praise the hospitality and goodwill of the host. Lîkov who recently returned from foreign countries told about what he saw there but his story ends with a recitation of a toast in honor of Ivan the IV th. Gryaznoy entertain his guests with songs and dances. In the dawn all the guests went home only Bomelius is asked to stay. Promising a generous reward Gryaznoy asked the doctor about a potion in order to spell a lady. Their discussion was listened by Lyubasha- the mistress of Gryaznoy. She has noticed that the feelings of her lover are not the same like some time ago and now she is twice jealous. She will not leave her chance and she will fight with her rival.


The street in Aleksandrovsky settlement. Twilight. Marfa and Dunyasha together with Petrovna the housekeeper of Sobakin family are leaving the monastery. All Marfa’s thoughts were at her lover, Ivan Lîkov. The discussion was interrupted by two strangers. One of those was looking carefully to Marfa. It is Ivan the Terrible. The young girl did not recognize the Tsar dressed in monk’s clothes but his eyes spread the fear. Evening. The street becomes empty. Lyubasha sneaking at Sobakin home she looks through the glass. The beauty of Marfa makes her jealous and that’s why she decides to kill her changing the love potion of Gryaznoy with a poison. In order to realize her aim she asks for help from Bomelius. He accepted the request but as a reward Lyubasha shall love him. She was not satisfied but in final she accepted this proposal and the conditions of Bomelius.


In the home of Sobakin family there are preparing for wedding. But there appear a problem that the bride is not coming being in that moment at Tsar’s palace at their event of choosing the future Tsarina among the most beautiful girls of the palace. Lîkov is concerned and Gryaznoy too. Marfa came. The young bride and groom receive a lot of congratulations. Being the right moment Gryaznoy, unnoticed by anyone, pours the poison into Marfa’s glass. Unexpectedly the wedding was interrupted by the appearance of Maliuta who announces the Tsar’s choice. Ivan the 4th had chosen Marfa being a shock for everybody.


The room in the Tsar’s palace. Sobakin has a lot of heavy thoughts because of his daughter incurable ill. Gryaznoy appears. He tells to Marfa about Lîkov who was executed on the command of Ivan because he killed the Tsar’s Bride. This was hard trial for the young girl. She was so confused that she did not recognized Gryaznoy but only her lover Vanya was in the eyes and her mind. Gryaznoy was terrified about Marfa’s feelings and her suffering causes painless and the opricinik told about his crime: he changed the potion and Lîkov was innocent. At that moment came Lyubasha who confessed everything and Gryaznoy being angry kills her.

Calendar of Performances:

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