Fomka the Fool
Fomka was the second of Rubinstein's operas to be performed. It was commissioned, together with two other one-act operas, The Siberian Hunters and Vengeance, by the Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna. The first performance was on 12 May [O.S. 30 April] 1853 at the Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The title role was sung by Lev Leonov, the son of the pianist John Field.
The performance appears to have been a disaster. The composer wrote 'It was performed in such a way that I gathered everything up and do not intend to give any more of my works on the Russian stage [...] [The performers] missed out whole bars, came in early, forgot their parts [..]' Rubinstein went to the theatre office the next day and insisted that his score be returned to him. The failure was an incentive for Rubinstein to quit Russia to seek a career in Western Europe. Although Rubinstein offered the opera to Franz Liszt to be performed in Weimar in 1854, the score now appears to be lost.
|Role||Voice type||Premiere Cast, 12 May [O.S. 30 April] 1853
|Miron, the village starosta||Zhivov|
|Anyushka, his daughter||soprano||Emilia Lileyeva|
|Fyodor, her fiancé||Pavel Bulakhov|
|Fomka the Fool||tenor||Lev Leonov|
|Stepanova, a matchmaker||soprano||Marya Leonova|
- letter from Rubinstein to his mother, quoted in Taylor (2007), 40-41
- Rubinstein (2005), 38
- Taylor (2007), 51