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The Teatro Real brings the Le Coq d'Or to Spain. For his last opera, Russian Nikolái Rimski-Kórsakov used a parody inspired by a children's story by Alexander Pushkin. A fierce satire of the Tsars, it is a fine balance between the excessive and the trivial, a work of saccharine melodies, absurd coloraturas, marvelous sonority and abounding fantasy. Its audacity made its mark in the history of opera: the fantasy and symbolism which embellish the work drew attention at its premiere at the beginning of the 20th century. Indeed, it is the only one of the composer’s 15 operas which has become opera house repertory outside Russia.

Starting Point

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov did not live to see the premiere of his last opera. The portrait of Tsar Dodon, an idle despot determined to send his army into futile conflicts, was too close to home. The recent Russo-Japanese war with Russia’s defeat was disastrous and made Tsar Nicholas II and his government tremendously unpopular amongst the people.  The ferocious parody behind such an apparently innocent libretto -  based on a story for children from Pushkin -  did not go unnoticed by the Russian censor.  Demands for changes to be made lasted two years and were met with resistance by the composer who did not give in.  The opera finally opened in 1909, two years after its composition. This audacious score has few rivals in the history of opera. It poses a calculated balance between excessive and trivial, where there is room for saccharine melodies, absurd coloraturas, marvelous sonority and abounding fantasy. All these elements come together, albeit bewildering at times, in a truly exceptional work.  It is the only one of Rimsky Korsakov’s 15 operas which has become part of opera house repertory outside Russia.  


'The Golden Cockerel'

Opera in three acts with prologue and epilogue

Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Libretto by Vladimir Belsky, after the poem The Fairy Tale of the Golden Cockerel by Alexander Pushkin, based upon two chapters of Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
Premiered at the Solodovnikov Theatre of Moscow, 24 October 1909

Premiere at the Teatro Real

New production by the Teatro Real, in co-production with the Théâtre de la Monnaie of Brussels and the Opéra national de Lorraine de Nancy

Principal Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real
(Coro Intermezzo / Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid)

Production Team & Cast

  • Musical director: Ivor Bolton
  • Stage Director and Costume Designer: Laurent Pelly
  • Set designer: Barbara de Limburg
  • Lighting designer: Joël Adam
  • Choreographer: Lionel Hoche
  • Chorus Master: Andrés Máspero
· - ·
  • Tsar Dodon: Dmitry Ulyanov (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Alexey Tikhomirov (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Tsarevich Gvidon: Sergei Skorokhodov (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Boris Rudak (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Tsarevich Afron: Alexey Lavrov (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Iurii Samoilov (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Governor Polkan: Alexander Vinogradov
  • Amelfa: Olesya Petrova (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Agnes Zwierko (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Astrologer: Alexander Kravets (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Barry Banks (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Tsaritsa of Shemakha: Venera Gimadieva (May. 25, 28, 31 · Jun. 3, 5, 9)
    Nina Minasyan (May. 29 · Jun. 1, 4)
  • Little Golden Cockerel: Sara Blanch

Approximate running time

Performance Dates

  • 25 MAY (T) 20:00h
  • 28 MAY (S) 18:00h
  • 29 MAY (M) 20:00h
  • 31 MAY (W) 20:00h
  • 1 JUN (T) 20:00h
  • 3 JUN (S) 20:00h
  • 4 JUN (S) 18:00h
  • 5 JUN (M) 20:00h
  • 9 JUN (F) 20:00h
  • Place: Main Auditorium

Programme of show

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