Rimsky-Korsakov : The Golden Cockerel

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A cruel and sardonic fairytale, Rimsky-Korsakov‘s The Golden Cockerel undoubtedly counts among the most subversive works in the history of music. A true masterpiece of the Russian repertoire, here in a production by Laurent Pelly conducted by Alain Altinoglu recorded at La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels.

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Rimsky-Korsakov : The Golden Cockerel

The old Tzar Dodon, tired of ruling his country, manipulated by his political advisors – among which the obscure Astrologer – and showing little interest in protecting his kingdom against foreign agression, relies on a magic Golden Cockerel to warn him in case of an attack. But when the Cockerel tells him of his own defeat, the Tzar quickly falls in love with his enemy, the beautiful Tzaritza of Shemakha, who easily convinces him to surrender his empire by making him propose to her…

A cruel and sardonic fairytale, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Golden Cockerel draws from a poem by Alexander Pushkin, and undoubtedly counts among the most subversive works in the history of music. One has to admit that the opera, composed less than ten years before the revolution that was to change Russia forever, doesn’t paint a very favorable picture of the Tzar’s regime ! A very direct attack against autocracy, stupidity and political inertia, it was censored and premiered only in 1909, one year after Rimsky-Korsakov’s death.

This new production from the Théâtre de la Monnaie was imagined by Laurent Pelly. Drawing from the modernity of Rimsky-Korsakov’s musical and dramatic imagination, the ambiguities of its specular structure, and its underlying reflection on language, manipulation and absurdity, the French stage director underlies the heavily symbolical aspects of this fierce and pitiless tale, allthewhile remembering both its historical context and its universal philosophical depth… French conductor Alain Altinoglu works wonders with the Théâtre de la Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, and reaffirms his strong affinities with Russian music, which were already made clear in the Tchaikovsky diptych Iolanta / The Nutcracker at the Paris Opera in 2016.


Rimsky-Korsakov : The Golden Cockerel [DVD & Blu-ray]

Opera in three acts (1909)

Music : Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Tzar Dodon : Pavlo Hunka
Tzarevich Guidon : Alexey Dolgov
Tzarevich Afron : Konstantin Shushakov
General Polkan : Alexander Vassiliev
Amelfa : Agnes Zwierko
Astrologer : Alexander Kravets
Tzaritza of Shemakha : Venera Gimadieva
Golden Cockerel : Sheva Tehoval (singer) / Sarah Demarthe (dancer)
Boyars : John Manning & Marcel Schmitz

Orchestre Symphonique et Chœurs de la Monnaie

Conductor : Alain Altinoglu

Stage direction & Costumes : Laurent Pelly

Sets : Barbara De Limburg
Lighting design : Joël Adam
Choreography : Lionel Hoche
Costume design collaborator : Jean-Jacques Delmotte
Chorus master : Martino Faggiani

Image gallery

« Pelly is masterly at characterising the comedy, through costumes as much as marshalling of his singers, with the chorus used especially effectively as soldiers and populace. The marital bed trundling forwards on tank tracks is a pertinent symbol of the tsar’s militaristic follies that have won him a bride – he then proceeds to sleep through the wedding celebrations. […] the comedy is all surprisingly subtle, and the underlying seriousness is never forgotten, especially with the Act III tableaux of Red Square and massed peoples. » – Bachtrack.com

Technical informations

HD recording : Théâtre de la Monnaie | 12/2016
TV direction : Myriam Hoyer
Release date : 23 March 2018
Distribution : Naxos Distribution

Reference : BAC147
Barcode : 3760115301474
Running time : 118 min.
Booklet : FR / ENG / NL
Subtitles : FR / ENG / GER / NL / SPA / ITA / KOR / JAP
Image : Color, 16/9, NTSC
Sound : PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Region code : 0

Reference : BAC447
Barcode : 3760115304475
Running time : 118 min.
Booklet : FR / ENG / NL
Subtitles : FR / ENG / GER / NL / SPA / ITA / KOR / JAP
Image : Color, 16/9, Full HD
Sound : PCM 2.0, DTS HD Master audio 5.1
Region code : A, B, C

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