Skip to main content

Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay, 1844-1908



  • Existence: March 18, 1844 - June 21, 1908


The last fifteen years of his life were the most prolific for Rimsky-Korsakov, as the composer virtually composed one opera after another with no rest between. 1894 began with the Noch′ pered rozhdestvom which was quickly followed by Sadko. While there were no obvious departures in these works, Rimsky-Korsakov set himself a fresh challenge in each of his next two operas. Motsart i Sal′yeri (‘Mozart and Salieri’) was a successful attempt to write in a highly expressive declamatory idiom, while Tsarskaya nevesta (‘The Tsar’s Bride’) ran counter to Stasov’s contempt for long, smooth melodic lines, as did the 48 songs written in the same period. Due to friendship and close partnership with his new Librettist, Vladimir Bel′sky, Rimsky-Korsakov continued with three more operas: Skazka o Tsare Saltane (‘The Tale of Tsar Saltan’), Skazaniye o nevidmom grade Kitezhe (‘The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh’, 1903–4), and Zolotoy petushok (‘The Golden Cockerel’). It was in April of 1907 that he travelled to Paris to conduct Diaghilev’s work. This is where he most likely was at the time the autograph was signed.