Peter I. Tschaikowski 1840–1893
Opera in four acts
Libretto by Ippolit W. Schpaschinski
First performed November 1st 1887, Mariinski-Theater, St Petersburg
Sung in Russian with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) in the Holzfoyer 30 minutes before performances begin and available here on video shortly before opening night
The power of love vanquishes the love of power: a dream, that goes wrong
Tchaikovsky’s seventh opera unravels like a four-part thriller, combining love and jealousy, drama, political intrigue and religious machinations which expose the impotency of the powerful and the opportunism of people. The plot revolves around the widow Nastasja, nicknamed Kuma, who runs an inn on the outskirts of Nischni Nowgorod, where people of all kinds converge. She fascinates her guests with her open-mindedness and dreams of freedom. Mamyrow, a duplicitous clergyman and advisor to the prince, accuses her of witchcraft and immorality. He persuades the prince to have Kuma’s guests checked out, but she manages to get the prince on her side and make a fool of his adviser. While Mamyrow fans the flames of the princess’ jealousy, the prince tries to win Kuma's love, but she’s in love with Juri, the royal couple‘s son. Kuma turns into a dysfunctional ruling family’s plaything. The story ends with the hysterical princess poisoning Kuma, the jealous prince killing his son and then going mad.
Tscharodejka – »The Enchantress« – was written between Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame but is rarely performed today, even though Tchaikovsky thought it his best work. The score glitters, revealing a multi-facetted progressive operatic dramatist: he deals with the exciting story by using different musical ideas for each act. Passionate characters, sensitive melodies, sparkling orchestration and dramatic ensemble scenes declare his unconditional love for »his« enchantress.