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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Kashchey the Immortal

opera in one act

Age 12+

Dates

Libretto: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov based on Eugene Petrovsky’s script
Musical director: Ivan Kostyakhin
Director: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Galina Galkovskaya
Designer: Lyubov Sidelnikova
Chorus master: Sergey Agranovich
Choreography: Elena Medyakova, Gennady Kulinkovich
Lighting designer: Irina Vtornikova
Computer graphics: Elena Akhremenko
Conductor: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Andrei Galanov
Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Sung in Russian with Russian and English surtitles
Premiere: 29 February 2008
New version premiere: 10 November 2012

12

Scene I. Kashchey’s Kingdom
The yard in front of Kashchey’s tower

Days go by, and the Tsarevna’s hope for returning home and seeing her beloved Prince Ivan is fading.

Kashchey continuously mocks the Tsarevna’s grief and demands that she entertain him with a song or a joke. The Tsarevna, however, is not in the mood. She pleads with the sorcerer to let her look at her beloved Prince Ivan even if it is only just for once. The magic mirror reveals the future to the Tsarevna: she sees her fiancé in the embraces of the dark-haired beauty, the sorcerer’s daughter Kashcheyevna. The sorcerer also glances in the mirror and, startled by what he has seen, breaks it. His daughter’s vow to guard the secret of his death doesn’t seem to him unbreakable any more.

Kashchey wakes up the Storm Knight, incarcerated in a dungeon, and orders him to fly to Kashcheyevna and ask how well she guards his death hidden in her tear. Secretly, the Princess asks the Storm to find Prince Ivan and tell him about her sufferings. The Storm rushes out.

Kashchey returns the Tsarevna to her tower and sends a snowstorm. ‘The hoary one will never pass away, Kashchey will never die,’ the chorus of invisible voices sings.

Scene II. Faraway Kingdom
The enchanted orchard around Kashcheyevna’s tower

Kashchey’s daughter expects another knight seeking for Kashchey’s death. ‘Flowers, flowers, give me your power!’ she keeps chanting over the magic potion. Having lured strangers into her orchard, she has taken many lives, and now she is making her sword ready for the meeting with another uninvited guest.

Prince Ivan is astonished by the beauty of the orchard where he has been led by the glimmer of fireflies. Delighted, he takes the goblet from the hands of the orchard owner. Having drunk the magic potion, the knight finds himself overpowered by evil charms. In the dark-haired beauty he sees the image of his beloved Tsarevna; he is confused, and the Tsarevna’s image blurs. The Prince falls asleep. Kashcheyevna is about to put him to the sword, but stops in hesitation: the unknown feeling to the noble Prince has crept into her heart.

Suddenly the Storm Knight bursts in, and with a gust of squally wind blows the sword out of Kashcheyevna’s hands. She is enraged: the silly Storm has interfered with her plan! A breath of fresh wind awakens Ivan. Appaled, he recognizes Kashchey’s daughter in the dark-haired beauty. The Prince picks up his fiancée’s call for help in the Storm’s song. Despite Kashcheyevna’s entreaties to stay, Prince Ivan saddles the Storm and, having armed himself with a sword, heads for Kashchey’s kingdom.

Scene III
The yard in front of Kashchey’s tower

Kashchey’s yard is gloomier and more impregnable now: Kashchey has seen to prevent his domain from being sneaked in. The Tsarevna has given up hope of being rescued. Her lullaby is full of desperation and curses at her tormentor.

The Storm brings Prince Ivan to Kashchey’s tower. The Tsarevna can’t believe that her sweetheart is here. Prince Ivan feels anxious and uneasy about seeing the vision of his beloved fade away if he approaches.

Inspired by the reunion, the couple tries to escape from the evil kingdom, but their way to freedom is barred by Kashchey’s daughter. It’s the first time she has fallen in love and is tormented by jealousy. A lot of knights have been bewitched by her beauty, but this time her charms are powerless. She agrees to let the Tsarevna go if the Prince stays with her. But the Tsarevna doesn’t need her life without her beloved.

Sensing trouble, Kashchey awakens. In the yard, he berates his daughter: why is the Prince alive? An awful suspicion comes to his mind: his daughter has fallen in love and is ready to reveal the secret of his immortality.

However, Kashcheyevna doesn’t care about her father’s death. Her heart is broken, and she can’t help crying bitterly. For the first time the heart of the dark-haired beauty lacks any space for hatred. ‘Farewell! I’ll love you forever, and I will always cry,’ she says to her beloved.

Kashcheyevna’s tears mean her death as well as the death of Kashchey the Immortal. Kashchey cries out his last curse and drops dead. The evil kingdom undergoes changes. The sweethearts hurry towards freedom.

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