The Demon (opera)

The Demon (Демон) is an opera in 3 acts (six scenes) by Russian composer Anton Rubinstein. The work dates from 1871. The libretto was by Pavel Viskovatov, based on the poem of the same name by Mikhail Lermontov.


Composition history

Performance history

St. Petersburg Premiere (World premiere)

Moscow Premiere

Original Interpreters

Russian Voice St. Petersburg 1875 Moscow 1879

Prince Gudal bass Osip Petrov Anton Bartsal
Tamara soprano Wilhelmina Raab Yelena Verni
Nurse contralto

Sinodal tenor Fyodor Komissarzhevsky

Sinodal's servant bass

Courier tenor

Demon baritone Ivan Melnikov Bogomir Korsov
Angel contralto Aleksandra Krutikova

The opera received 100 performances in the first decade since its premiere. Its first performance in Paris was in May 1911, where the critics considered the opera to be old-fashioned.

Publication history

Critical reception

Rubinstein invited several musicians of the group known as The Five, including César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, as well as the critic Vladimir Stasov to a private hearing of the opera in September 1871, where the guests did not regard the work favourably. However, melodic motifs from The Demon inspired comparable motifs in Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Roles and setting


Russian English Voice

Князь Гудал Prince Gudal bass
Тамара, его дочь Tamara, his daughter soprano
Няня Тамары Tamara's nurse contralto
Князь Синодал, жених Тамары Prince Sinodal, Tamara's betrothed tenor
Старый слуга князя Синодала Prince Sinodal's old servant bass
Гонец Courier tenor
Демон Demon baritone
Ангел Angel contralto
Хоры злых и добрых духов, грузин и грузинок, гостей, татар, слуг, монахинь Evil and good spirits, Georgians, guests, Tatars, servants, nuns chorus, silent roles



Act 1

Act 2

Act 3


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