Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Mlada (Rimsky-Korsakov)

Mlada (Млада, the name of a main character) is an opera-ballet in four acts, composed between 1889 and 1890 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, to a libretto by Viktor Krylov that was originally written for an aborted project of the same name from 1872.

In those years, Rimsky-Korsakov dusted off the libretto for Mlada and composed his own complete setting of the opera-ballet anew.

The first production of Mlada was not a success, and it did not become a regular repertory item.

The St. Petersburg premiere was given on 1 November 1892 and conducted by Eduard Nápravník. The scene designers were Ivan Andreyev and Mikhail Bocharov; balletmasters were Lev Ivanov and Enrico Cecchetti.

Other notable performances were given in 1904 in St. Petersburg in the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Conservatory by Tsereteli's opera company; in 1913 in Moscow by the Zimin Opera; and in 1923 in Petrograd at the State Theatre of Opera and Ballet.


Role Voice type Premiere cast
11 November 1892
(Conductor: Eduard Nápravník)

Mstivoy, prince of Retra bass Fyodor Stravinsky
Voyslava, his daughter soprano Olga Olgina
Yaromir, prince of Arkona tenor Mikhaylov
Shade of Princess Mlada silent role Marie Petipa
Lumir alto Mariya Dolina
Morena, goddess of the underworld, appearing in the first act in the form of the old woman Svyatokhna mezzo-soprano
Moor from the Caliphate tenor
The Novgorodian tenor
Wife of the Novgorodian mezzo-soprano
A Varangian baritone
Lumir, Czech singer alto
Tiun bass
High Priest of Radegast baritone
Chornobog chorus
Kashchey the Immortal chorus
Chuma (Plague), god of pestilence silent role
Cherv (Worm), god of the destruction of grasses (famine) silent role
Topelets, god of floods and sinkings silent role
Shade of Queen Cleopatra silent role
Chorus, silent roles: Maidens, armor-bearers and retinue of Mstivoy, merchants, supplicators, people of various Slavic lands, priests and priestesses of Radegast, trumpeters, wood-sprites, werewolves, kikimoras, witches, ghosts of the deceased, ghosts of dancers, of black male and female slaves of Queen Cleopatra, spectres of bogatïrs, Slavic gods


Time: The ninth or tenth century

Place: The Slavic lands of the Baltic sea-coast, in the city of Retra, near the Laba (Elbe) River.

Act 1

Voyslava has killed Mlada, Yaromir's bride, to have him for herself. With the help of Morena, the goddess of the underworld, she has captivated Yaromir. But he sees the murder in his dreams.

Act 2

At the midsummer festival the people dance, while the spirit of Mlada interves between Yaromir and Voyslava.

Act 3

By night Mlada leads Yaromir up Mount Triglav, where the dead gather, before the Witches' Sabbath in which Yaromir is shown a vision of Cleopatra.

Act 4

Yaromir, at the Temple of Radegast, is shown by the spirits that Voyslava is guilty. She confesses her sin and he kills her. Morena, with whom Voyslava had made a compact, destroys the temple and the city of Retra, but Yaromir is united with Mlada in heaven.

Concert excerpts

Two orchestral works were derived from the opera by the composer. The first, Night on Mt. Triglav, is an arrangement of Act 3. The second is a suite.

  • Night on Mt. Triglav (1899–1901)
  • Suite from the Opera-Ballet Mlada (1903)

#Redowa: A Bohemian Dance
#Lithuanian Dance
#Indian Dance

The Redowa appears in Act 1. The Lithuanian Dance and the Indian Dance are taken from Act 2, Scene 5. The cortège is the well-known Procession of the Nobles (Шествие князей, literally, Procession of the Princes), and appears in Act 2, Scene 3.

Selected recordings

Audio Recordings (Mainly studio recordings)


  • 1962, Evgeny Svetlanov (conductor), Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Vladimir Makhov (Yaromir), Tatyana Tugarinova (Voyslava), Alexey Korolyov (Mstivoy), Nina Kulagina (Morena)



  • Abraham, Gerald. "Rimsky-Korsakov's Mlada," in On Russian Music. London: W. Reeves, 1939; rpt. New York: Books for Libraries, 1980.
  • Gaub, Albrecht. Die kollektive Ballett-Oper "Mlada": ein Werk von Kjui, Musorgskij, Rimskij-Korsakov, Borodin und Minkus. Studia slavica musicologica; Bd. 12. Berlin: Kuhn, 1998. ISBN 3-928864-53-X
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, N.A.. My Musical Life. Ed. with an introduction by Carl van Vechten; trans. by Judah A. Joffe. 3rd American ed. A. A. Knopf, 1942.
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, Nicolai; Dr. Olga Browning (Foreword translated by) (1983). Mlada: An Opera Ballet in Four Acts; Vocal Score. Melville, N.Y.: Belwin Mills Publishing Corp. K5255.

External links

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