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     19 year-old Rachmaninov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892. All the composers of his class were given a task to write and instrument the one-act opera "Aleko" to the libretto by V. Nemirovich-Danchenko on Pushkin’s poem "The Gypsies". In order to receive their diploma, it needed to be finished in two months.  Rachmaninov eagerly plunged into work and seventeen days later brought to A. Arensky the complete score.
     The composiion was highly esteemed by the examiners’ board which included S. Taneev and A. Arensky.  Rakmaninov got the highest mark, was awarded a gold medal and his name was entered on the marble plaque of the Conservatory’s Maly Hall on which the names of the best graduates were inscribed in golden letters.
     In the same year, the opera "Aleko" was published and approved for production. At its premiere in April 1893 was present P.Tchaikovsky who wrote about "Aleko": "I liked this charming work greatly".

S. Rachmaninov
Opera in one act
Libretto by V. Nemirovich-Danchenko
On A. Pushkin’s poem "The Gypsies".

  1. Introduction – 3:11
  2. Chorus – 4:19
  3. The old man’s story (old man, chorus) – 5:31
  4. Scene and chorus (Aleko, Zemphira, young gypsy, chorus) - 2:29
  5. Women’s dance – 4:16
  6. Men’s dance – 4:23
  7. Chorus – 3:39
  8. Duettino (young gypsy, Zemphira) – 2:38
  9. Scene at the Cradle (Zemphira, Aleko) – 4:20
  10. Aleko’s Cavatina – 5:52
  11. Intermezzo – 2:40
  12. The young gypsy’s romance – 1:28
  13. Duet and finale (Zemphira, young gypsy, Aleko, chorus, old man, old gypsy woman) – 14:35

Total time – 59:21

The cast:

Evgeni Nestrenko, bass
The young gypsy – Alexander Fedin, tenor
The old man (Zemphira’s father) – Vladimir Matorin, bass
Zemphira – Svetlana Volkova, soprano
The old gypsy woman – Raisa Kotova, mezzo-soprano
The USSR TV and Radio large chorus
Artistic director - Ludmila Ermakova
Chorus master  - Svyatoslav Ivanov
Emilia Moskvitina - harp (12)
The Philarmonic Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Dmitri Kitaenko