The Fiery Angel (Russian: Огненный ангел — Ognenny angel in transliteration) is an opera in five acts by Sergei Prokofiev to a Russian libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Valery Bryusov. First performance: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 1955. Prokofiev had great trouble staging this Opera. Numerous attempts at it, failed because he failed to meet deadlines, or because the work's peculiar nature estranged people, who declined to give it a chance. For these reasons, the opera never premiered during the artist's lifetime, but only a few years after his death. Since then it has had better luck, but is still not widely performed.
Seeing that the opera didn't have many chances of being performed, Prokofiev used music from it as the basis of his Symphony No. 3.
The opera has a largely sarcastic and humorous nature in its treatment of the dark arts. The music is dark and imposing, and the singing, especially that of Renata is chillingly hystrionic.
There are only three recordings of the Fiery Angel in existence. The most recent two are conducted by Prokofiev specialist Neeme Järvi with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, who has recorded a wide array of russian operas with the Kirov Opera.
The full title of Bryusov's novel gives a good idea of the substance of the opera:
Renata is the maiden in question. She has fallen in love with the Fiery Angel, whom she later identified with Count Heinrich. She has enlisted Ruprecht in her efforts to come in contact with her "Angel". Aggripa von Nettesheim has offered to help them, but the presence of Faust and Mephistopheles in the opera speaks volumes.