TCHAIKOVSKY: The Maid of OrlÈans — Moscow 1971

Music composed by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky to his own libretto
after Friedrich von Schiller’s Die Jungfrau von Orleans
(1801), tragedy translated by Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky, Jules
Barbier’s Jeanne d’Arc and Auguste Mermet’s
libretto for his own opera, after Barbier (1876), with various details
adapted from Henri Wallon’s biography of Joan of Arc.

First Performance: 13/25 February 1881, Mariinsky
Theatre, St Petersburg

Principal Roles:
Joan of Arc Soprano/Mezzo-Soprano
King Charles VII Tenor
AgnËs Sorel Soprano
Dunois, French knight Baritone
Lionel, Burgundian knight Baritone
Archbishop (Cardinal in first production) Bass
Raymond, Joan’s betrothed Tenor
Thibaut d’Arc, Joan’s father Bass
Bertrand, a peasant Bass
Lauret Bass
A Soldier Bass
Voice from the Angelic Choir Soprano

Setting: France, 1431


Act I

A forest near DomrÈmy

Thibaut, father of Joan, wants her to marry Raymond. Joan refuses,
declaring that she must follow her divine destiny. Enraged, her father
accuses her to be in league with the devil. News arrives that the English are
devastating nearby villages. Joan inspires all to hope because Salisbury, the
English commander, is destined to perish. When a soldier brings news of the
death of Salisbury; all sing hanks to the Lord. Joan bids farewell to save

Act II

At the Castle of Chinon

The minstrels sing and gypsies dance to amuse King Charles VII and his
mistress AgnËs Sorel. The vassal Dunois informs the King that the royal
treasure is exhausted. He urges the King to take arms. To the disdain of
Dunois, AgnËs offers him to contribute her own money to finance the war. The
archbishop receives a report of a miracle — the French have won thanks
to troops led by a young girl. Joan presents herself to the King, telling him
her story. The King gives her command of the army.


Near Reims

Giovanna engages in a duel with Lionel, a Burgundian allied with the
English. But when she is about to strike the deadly blow, Joan sees his face,
evoking tender pity. They immediately fall in love. Lionel swears allegiance
to the French cause. At the cathedral of Reims a great crowd forms to
celebrate Charles’ coronation. Thibaut publicly accuses Joan of
witchcraft. Dunois defends her and the archbishop questions her. Feeling
guilty of her love for Lionel, Joan remains silent. Lionel implores her to
run away; but she accuses him that his love has caused her downfall.

Act IV

In the forest

Lionel and Joan embrace. A choir of angels sings a warning to the girl:
she has betrayed her divine mission She must therefore suffer before she
receives salvation. An English contingent arrives, killing Lionel and
capturing Joan.

At the old market of Rouen

The English condemn Joan to the stake for being a witch. Joan asks Dunois
for a cross, which he gives her. As the fire consumes her, the celestial
voices promise her a place next to God.

Click here for the complete libretto (Russian).

here for the complete text of Die Jungfrau von

here for the complete score

image_description=Joan of Arc by Paul Gauguin
first_audio_name=Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky:The Maid of OrlÈans: [Orleanskaya deva]
product_title=Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky:The Maid of OrlÈans: [Orleanskaya deva]
product_by=Irina Arkhipova: Joan; Vladimir Makhov: King Charles; Klavdiya Radchenko: AgnËs Sorel; Vladimir Valaitis: Dunois: Sergey Yavkovchenko: Lionel; Lev Vernigora: Archbishop; Andrey Sokolov: Raymond; Viktor Selivanov: Bertrand; Vartan Makelian: Soldier; Yevgeny Vladimirov: Thibaut. Moscow Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra. Gennady Rozhdestvensky, conducting. Moscow, 1971.