Rakhmaninov [Rachmaninoff, Rachmaninov], Sergey Vasil’yevich (opera)
- Richard Taruskin
(b Semyonovo, nr Staraya Russa, Novgorod district, March/1 20, April; d Beverly Hills, ca , March 28, 1943). Russian composer, pianist and conductor. Opera occupies a minor place in his many-sided career and in his creative output, but for a short time around the turn of the century the musical stage was his primary focus.
While a pupil of Taneyev and Arensky at the Moscow Conservatory, in autumn 1888, Rakhmaninov began sketching an opera on the libretto of Dargomïzhsky’s Esmeralda (based on Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris), getting only as far as the instrumental introduction to Act 1 and Claude Frollo’s Act 3 scena, all in piano score. During the 1890–91 school year he composed, presumably on assignment, a pair of settings from Pushkin’s drama Boris Godunov, one of which, Pimen’s monologue, had a famous counterpart in Musorgsky’s opera (Rakhmaninov’s version was published posthumously in the USSR, in ...