Fomka the Fool

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Fomka the Fool (Fomka-durachok: Russian: Фомка-дурачок) is a one-act opera by Anton Rubinstein to a libretto by M. L. Mikhaylov. It was given its only performance in 1853.

Background[edit]

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 [..]'[1] Rubinstein went to the theatre office the next day and insisted that his score be returned to him.[2] 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,[3] the score now appears to be lost.

Roles[edit]

Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 12 May [O.S. 30 April] 1853
(Conductor: )
Miron, the village starosta Zhivov
Anyushka, his daughter soprano Emilia Lileyeva
Fyodor, her fiancé Pavel Bulakhov
Fomka the Fool tenor Lev Leonov
Panteley baritone Semen Hulak-Artemovsky
Stepanova, a matchmaker soprano Marya Leonova

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ letter from Rubinstein to his mother, quoted in Taylor (2007), 40-41
  2. ^ Rubinstein (2005), 38
  3. ^ Taylor (2007), 51
Sources
  • Rubinstein, Anton, ed. L. I. Barenboym, Autobiograficheskiye Rasskazi (in Russian), St. Peterburg, 2005 ISBN 5-7379-0281-1
  • Taylor, Philip S., Anton Rubinstein: a Life in Music, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 2007 ISBN 978-0-253-34871-5