Andrei Mdivany

Passions (Rogneda)

ballet in two acts

Recommended age 12+


Libretto, choreography and staging: People’s Artist of the USSR and Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Elizariev
Composer: People’s Artist of Belarus, laureate of State Prizes of the Republic of Belarus Andrey Mdivani
Musical director: People’s Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Gennady Provatorov
Designer: People's Artist of Russia, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Vyacheslav Okunev
Chorus master: People’s Artist of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Nina Lomanovich
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes with one interval
Premiere: 28 July 1995


From the legends about, Rogneda the princess of Polozk.

In the year of 980 prince Rogvolod governed in the land of Polozk. He had a beautiful daughter Rogneda who was engaged to Yaropolk, the prince of Kiev. The ruler of Novgorod prince Vladimir the brother of Yaropolk decided to take away from the prince of Kiev both the state and his bride. Through his messengers he ordered to tell the Prince of Polozk:
"I want to take your daughter to wife".

The prince of Polozk asked his daughter:
– "Do you want to marry Vladimir?"

But being faithful to Yaropolk she answered:
"I don’t want to marry Vladimir (because he was the son of a slave),I want to marry Yaropolk".

And when the messengers returned, they told Vladimir Rogneda’s words, the daughter of the prince of Polozk Rogvolod. Vladimir gathered all his warriors – Varyags, Slavs, Chudies, Krivitches and went to fight Rogvolod.He attacked Polozk and disgraced Rogneda in the presence of her parents, killed Rogvolod and the two of his sons and then forced Rogneda to marry him. In the same year of 980 he got rid of his brother Yaropolk and asserted his triumph of Grand Duke of Kiev. Rogneda didn’t forgive her husband the murder of her father and her brothers as well as his adultery. The Grand Duke preferred other wives to her. That’s why he turned out the unhappy wife from the Palace. One day he visited her isolated dwelling on the bank of the river Lybed which is near Kiev. There he fell sound asleep. Rogneda took a knife to put him to death but he awoke and parried the blow. Having reminded the cruel husband the death of her relatives, in tears Rogneda desperately complained that he no longer loved neither her nor their little boy Izyaslav. Vladimir decided to execute Rogneda with his own hands. But young Izyaslav taught by his mother, took up the sward, handed it to his father and said:
– "You are not alone; your son will be a witness".

Vladimir dropped the sward and said:
– "Who knew that you were here!..."

Then he went away, gathered his boyars and asked their advice. "Your Majesty, they said, forgive her guilt for the sake of your own son and give them the lands which once belonged to Rogneda’s father!" Vladimir agreed: he built a new town, named it Izyaslavl and sent there the mother and the son. In the year of 988, the Grand Duke Vladimir took princess Anna Bagryanorodnaya from Byzantium as a wife and converted Kievan Rus’ to Christianity.

From the legend: "Condemn them, oh God, let them renounce their intentions; for their sins are many, reject them for they have caused your wrath".

From the Russian Primary Chronicle

Act I – passions about Rogneda
Rogneda – the princess of Polotsk
Prophecy of the old men
The love of Rogneda and Yaropolk
Vladimir’s proposal
Rogneda’s refusal
Vladimir’s revenge
Ashes of Polotsk

Act II – the way to repentance
Vladimir’s celebration in Kiev
Rogneda’s loneliness
Appearance of Yaropolk to Rogneda
Anna Bagryanorodnaya
Christening of Rus
Rogneda’s attempt
Sorrows of torments and sinners
Revival of Polotsk

From the words of Apostle Peter: "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity will cover the multitude of sins."