Tchaikovsky – Maid of Orleans

If I remember this correctly, I got this one from the library first, and it was the first opera I ever heard. I can tell you, it is not an easy one to start an opera journey with, but I held on. In the end listening to it many times, it grew on me. By now I hold it in high regard, but I understand if someone else doesn’t get this.

The reason why it got my attention must have been the title. I was very much into new wave, so how could this not be a link to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark? Of course the two had to be connected! I already loved Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, so this must be good.

So imagine my disappointment when I found out. At the same time I wanted to keep trying, even though the way it was sung was not easy (lots of tremolo). I gradually discovered its beauty, and this still is proof for me that sometimes the worst pieces of music ast the beginning, reward you the most in the end.

Tchaikovsky’s work about the famous hero of France premiered in 1881 in the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. It was inducted by Nápravnik. He was the chief conductor for the theatre, but also a composer. I discovered some of his work much later.

What makes Maid of Orleans special is that it is so very French. It has a lot of resemblance with the French Grand Opera, but in the Russian language. In Paris the Grand Opera was already replaced by more modern styles, but the style was well known among the Russian nobility. One of the main features was the inclusion of ballet scenes.

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