Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Mariinsky

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Archaic charm
By Galina Stolyarova [St. Petersburg Times, 11 Mar 05]
The new production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Tale Of Tsar Saltan, which premiered at the Mariinsky Theater on Tuesday, is like a happy child’s dream: placid, multi-colored, entertaining – and it has a happy ending.
Three fair maidens late one night, sat and spun by candle-light, reads a line from Alexander Pushkin’s 1832 poem upon which the opera is based. It tells the story of a beautiful girl, Militrisa, who marries Tsar Saltan and gives birth to a son. But her two envious and less fortunate sisters, ill-advised by an old woman named Barbarikha, deceive the Tsar, telling him that his wife has delivered a monster. The Tsar orders the mother and the baby to be put in a cask and thrown to the sea.
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