The Tsar's Bride (Russian: Царская невеста, Tsarskaya nevesta) is an opera in four acts by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the composer's tenth opera. The libretto, by Ilia Tyumenev, is based on the drama of the same name by Lev Mey.


The Tsar's Bride (Russian: Царская невестаTsarskaya nevesta) is an opera in four acts by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the composer's tenth opera. The libretto, by Ilia Tyumenev, is based on the drama of the same name by Lev Mey. Mey's play was first suggested to the composer as an opera subject in 1868 by Mily Balakirev. (Alexander Borodin, too, once toyed with the idea.) However, the opera was not composed until thirty years later, in 1898. The first performance of the opera took place in 1899 at the Moscow theater of the Private Opera of S.I. Mamontov.

Rimsky-Korsakov himself said of the opera that he intended it as a reaction against the ideas of Richard Wagner, and to be in the style of "cantilena par excellence".

The Tsar's Bride is a repertory opera in Russia, although it is not part of the standard operatic repertoire in the West.

Performance history

The Moscow premiere was given at the Private Opera Society, the scenic designer being Mikhail Vrubel. St. Petersburg had its premiere two years later at the Mariinsky Theatre with scenic designs by Ivanov and Lambin. Another notable performance was at the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow, conducted by Emil Cooper (Kuper) and with scenic design by Konstantin Korovin, Golova, and Dyachkov. A film version was released in 1966 directed by Vladimir Gorikker.

One noted US production was in 1986 at Washington Opera. The Royal Opera premiere was given at Covent Garden in 2011, directed by Paul Curran, with set and costume design by Kevin Knight and lighting design by David Jacques.


Time: Autumn, 1572
Place: Aleksandrovsky settlement, Moscow, Russia

Act 1: The Feast

The Oprichnik Gryaznoi loves Marfa, daughter of the merchant Sobakin, even though Gryaznoi already has a mistress, Lyubasha, whom he has neglected of late. Marfa is already beloved of the boyar Lykov. In a jealous rage against Lykov, Gryaznoi arranges to cast a spell on Marfa with a magic potion from Bomelius, the Tsar's physician. Lyubasha has overheard Gryaznoi's request.

Act 2: The Love Philtre

Lyubasha in turn obtains from Bomelius another magic potion with which to cancel any feelings of Gryaznoi for Marfa. Bomelius consents, but at the price of an assignation with Lyubasha for himself.

Act 3: The Best Man

In the meantime, the Tsar of the title, Ivan IV (known as "Ivan the Terrible"), is looking for a new bride from the best aristocratic maidens in Russia. The Tsar settles upon Marfa. At the celebration of the engagement of Marfa to Lykov, everyone is surprised when the news arrives of the Tsar's choice of Marfa as his bride. Gryaznoi had slipped what he thought was the love potion from Bomelius into Marfa's drink at the feast.

Act 4: The Bride

At the Tsar's palace, Marfa has become violently ill. Lykov has been executed, at the instigation of Gryaznoi, on charges of attempting to kill Marfa. When Marfa learns that Lykov is dead, she goes insane. Eventually, Gryaznoi admits that he had slipped a potion into her drink, and after learning that it was poisonous, asks that he himself be executed. Lyubasha then confesses that she had substituted her potion from Bomelius for Gryaznoi's. In a rage, Gryaznoi murders Lyubasha, and is then taken to prison eventually to be executed. In her madness, Marfa mistakes Gryaznoi for Lykov, inviting him to return the next day to visit her, then dies.

Important musical excerpts

  • Overture
  • Gryaznoy's Recitative and Aria (Act I)
  • Lyubasha's Song (Act I)
  • Marfa's Aria (Act IV)
里姆斯基-科萨科夫 - 歌剧《沙皇的新娘》
Composer: Rimsky-Korsakov 1898-1899
Duration: 2:20:00 ( Average )
Genre :Opera


Update Time:2019-11-24 20:57