The Tsar's Bride (Царская невеста in Cyrillic, Carskaja nevesta in transliteration) is an opera in four acts by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The libretto, by Il’ya 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 on 22 Oct. (3 Nov.) 1899 at the Moscow theater of the Private Opera of S.I. Mamontov.
The Tsar's Bride is not part of the standard operatic repertoire in the West, although it is a repertory item in Russia.
Characters and setting
The action takes place in the Alexandrovsky settlement (in Moscow) in autumn, 1572.
Important musical excerpts