“The Golden Cockerel, 1914” (or “Le Coq d’Or”) was the last opera of Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakoff (1844-1908). The censor refused to sanction its performance during the composer’s lifetime and his difficulties with the authorities in this matter are supposed to have hastened his death. Korsakov was a keen collector of Russian peasant songs and had used folk melodies in his music. The opera, in three acts, is composed to a libretto by V. Bielsky, based upon a well-known poem by Pushkin.
Act III, and Epilogue
Where is the Tsarina?
Disappeared as if she never existed.
Did the Tsar cry out?
No. He’s dead. If this isn’t all a dream that is.
The Tsar is dead.
The good man has been murdered.
The happy Tsar, the carefree Tsar,
the eternally unforgotten Tsar!
Ruler of all rulers!
How wise he was.
With his hands in his lap, he ruled his people lying down.
However, when the Tsar was angry, he could he like a heavenly storm.
He would strike at random. Everyone was in danger.
When the cloud had passed and the heavy air had cleared, our golden Tsar would radiate as if nothing had happened.
What will the new morning bring us?
What will we do without the Tsar?
# # #
So this is the end of the fairy tale.
But the bloody resolution, while it is burdensome, shouldn’t worry you.
I and the Tsarina were the only real ones here.
The others were fantasies, dreams, spirits and mere illusions!