Based on the L.Mei’s drama of the same name
The Mei’s drama is based on the historical (though not well-known) episode of the tsar Ivan the Terrible’s third marriage. That is how the story runs according to the Karamzin’s “History of the Russian State”: “Feeling bored for widowerhood though not innocent Ivan the Terrible’s for looking for a third wife… From all the cities two thousand brides, both noble and ignoble were brought to be introduced to him specially. Firstly he chose 24, then 12... he compared their beauty, agreeability, wit; finally he preferred Marfa Vasilevna Sobakina, the Novgorod merchant’s daughter. But the tsar’s bride got ill, grew thin. They said she was poisoned by evil people, those who envied Ivan’s family happiness. Malicious slanderer, doctor Yelisei Bomeliy suggested tsar killing evil persons by means of poison and created such a mixture that the poisoned person died in exact time, indicated by the tsar. That is how Ivan executed one of his favorites, Grigoriy Gryaznyi, prince Ivan Gvozdev-Rostovskiy and many others, considered participants of the tsar bride poisoning.
Meanwhile the tsar married sick Marfa (28 of October, 1572), hoping that she would recover thanks to his love and trust in God; in 6 days he gave his son in marriage with Yevdokia Saburova, but the wedding feast turned into funerals: Marfa died on the 13 of November, being either the victim of the people’s rage or the originator of the execution of the innocent”.
The Mei’s subject was mainly kept in the opera and the whole drama was emphasized by the genius music.
Music director and conductor — honoured artist of Russia Vladimir Kovalenko
Production director — honoured artist of Russia Georgiy Miller (Chelyabinsk)
Art director — Stanislav Fesko (Yekaterinburg)
Costumer — Svetlana Ponomarenko
Choirmaster — honoured artist of Russia Valeria Navrotskaya
Conductors: distinguished artist of Russia Boris Benkogenov, Yevgeniy Khokhlov
Director — Marina Shapkina
Designer — Natalia Khokhlova
Choreograph — honoured artist of Russia Nadezhda Malygina
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908). The libretto is by Rimsky-Korsakov and I. Tiumenev