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Dmitry Smolsky

The Grey Legend

opera in two acts

Age 16+

Dates

Music: People’s Artist of the Republic of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Dmitry Smolsky
Libretto: laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Uladzimir Karatkevich
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Director: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal Mikhail Pandzhavidze
Designer: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Kostiuchenko
Costumes: Eleonora Grigoruk
Chorus master: People's Artist of Belarus, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Nina Lomanovich
Lighting designer: Sergey Shevchenko
Computer graphics: Pavel Suvorov
Conductor: Aleh Lessoun
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes with one interval
Sung in Belarusian with Russian and English surtitles
Premiere: 9 September 2012

16

The events take place in Mahiliou and its environs at the beginning of the 17th century. 
Act I
Scene I

During the hunt in honour of the wedding of the nobility members Kizgaila and Lyubka Kizgaila’s serfs gather on a forest glade. Iryna is among them; Raman, a nobleman, the fiancé’s friend, is deeply in love with her. He takes an opportunity to ask Kizgaila to let Iryna marry him as he sees no sense in life without her. Kizgaila is shocked: how can a well born gentleman, a nobleman, commit such sacrilege and lead a serf to the altar? But Raman persuades so persistently that Kizgaila gives in.

Kizgaila’s young wife Lyubka’s horn is heard. Having heard about the decision of her husband, she strongly objects to it and forbids him from freeing the girl. Kizgaila is full of the bleakest forebodings; the cancellation of the promise may lead to war and deaths on the dear land. But Lyubka is adamant: let a bloody war begin, let the nobility perish, but the serf girl will never be the nobleman’s wife! In the hope of becoming his sweetheart one day Lyubka forces Kizgaila to send Iryna to prison in Mahiliou.

Scene II
In Kizgaila’s old family castle mercenaries are preparing for a battle with a troop headed by Raman who hasn’t forgiven the betrayal of his former friend. Kizgaila’s detachment is headed by the brave and cynic Mercenary who values money most of all. Kizgaila understands that the truth is on Raman’s side and seeks the Mercenary’s support, but hears unexpected words: ‘Where is the call of the truth? What is the value of faith if somebody suffers in fetters? If it weren’t this, God gracious, I would meet Satan here. And you, enemy, invent the truth …that can’t be taken.’

Raman’s troop takes the castle by storm. Raman learns about Iryna’s capture and challenges Kizgaila to a duel. Sometime later a dirge signals Kizgaila’s death.

Act II
Scene III

Raman is alone with his thoughts in the library of the plundered castle. Lyubka appears. She declares her strong bitter love to Raman and assures that her feelings and thoughts are turned to him only, and she is ready to sacrifice her life for him. Lyubka begs him for a son so that the renowned kin of the nobility isn’t interrupted by Kizgaila’s death. But Raman’s heart belongs to Iryna, he loves her and is devoted to her, and leaves for Mahiliou for her.

Raman’s troop takes the field, accepts the battle and is defeated. Raman is taken prisoner and will be punished violently.

Scene IV
Lyubka comes to the prison in Mahiliou where Iryna is languished. She is in anger and despair: Raman is sentenced to have his hands chopped off, hands that will never unsheathe a sword against the nobility. Lyubka demands that Iryna repudiates Raman and stops her charm, otherwise she will be blinded. But Iryna rejects all her entreaties and threats as she will never leave Raman and betray her love.

Scene V
A square in Mahiliou. With horror and pain people go through Raman and Iryna’s torments. But nobody and nothing can destroy their pure feeling: their love is a beautiful legend that rises above all misfortunes.

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