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Past Images of the Month

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Postcard, c.1900 after the portrait by Konstantin Makovsky, 1869.

Postcard, c.1900 after the portrait by Konstantin Makovsky, 1869.

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DARGOMÏZHSKY, Alexander Sergeyevich (b.Troitskoye, Tula district, 14 February 1813; d.St Petersburg, 17 January 1869)
Dargomïzhsky is a key figure in Russian music history, whose two major works, the Pushkin-based operas Rusalka (The Water-Sprite) and Kamennïy Gost (The Stone Guest), were to have a profound effect on the composers of the Nationalist Group. In Rusalka, (first performed St Petersburg, 16 May 1856) the character of the Miller provided the Russian operatic repertoire with one of its great bass roles and ensured the work's popularity until well into the twentieth century. The Stone Guest (premiered posthumously St Petersburg, 28 February 1872), with its fidelity to Pushkin's text and use of "mezzo recitative", although it failed to hold the stage, served as a model for composers like Musorgsky, who aimed to reproduce the rhythm and intonation of the spoken word.

(Please click the thumbnails below to view larger image)

Iulia Fedorovna Platonova (1842-1892) as Natasha in Rusalka. Platonova worked on the role with Dargomïzhsky and created the roles of Donna Anna in The Stone Guest and Marina in Boris Godunov.

Katharina Meder (1886-?) as Natasha  in Rusalka. Leonid Vital'yevich Sobinov (1872-1934) as the Prince in Rusalka. Maria Dmitrievna Chernenko (1870 - ?) as the Princess in Rusalka.

Pavel Yakovlevich Pavlov (1871 - ?) as the Miller in Rusalka. Pavel Yakovlevich Kurzner (1886 - 1948) as the Miller in Rusalka. Matvei Zakharovich Gorianov (? - ?) as the Miller in Rusalka.

Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873 - 1938) as the Miller in Rusalka. Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873 - 1938) as the Miller in Rusalka. Feodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (1873 - 1938) as the Miller in Rusalka.

Gurii Fëdorovich Stravinsky (1884 - 1917) as the Miller in Rusalka.  Son of the bass Fedor Ignat'yevich Stravinsky and youngest brother of the composer.Rusalka. Vocal score. A. Gutheil: Moscow, [1885]. Georgi Pozemkovsky (1890 -1958) as Don Juan in The Stone Guest.

Flyer for Sir Thomas Beecham's Russian Opera Season, London, [1931]. The season opened with the British premiere of Dargomïzhsky's Rusalka, starring Chaliapin as the Miller.

Programme for the British premiere of Rusalka, May - June 1931.

Romances and Songs. P. Jurgenson: Moscow & Leipzig, [1896]. Manuscript of the song Dieu qui sourit to words by Victor Hugo. Facsimile, 1913.

Dargomïzhsky's tomb in the Artists’ Corner at the Alexander Nevsky  Monastery, St Petersburg.   The monument was created by A.I. Haustov in 1961.