Alexander of Macedon

Tchaikovsky Research

Alexander of Macedon (Александр Македонский) (TH 206 ; ČW 449) [1] was a projected opera based on an original story by Aleksandr Ostrovsky, which occupied Tchaikovsky during the autumn of 1868.

On 25 September/7 October 1868, the composer wrote to his brother Anatoly: "The other day I dined at Ostrovsky's, and he himself suggested to me a magnificent new libretto. He's been planning the subject for the last 20 years: until now he'd found no one to carry this out, but now, finally, he has chosen me. The action takes place in Babylon and in Greece at the time of Alexander of Macedon, who himself will be depicted in the opera. The opera will show the conflict between two great cultures: Jewish and Greek; the hero is a young Jew who, because of his unrequited love for a Jewish girl, is chosen by Alexander for his ambition, and at the end becomes a prophet. You can't imagine what a magnificent outline this is" [2].

However, in spite of the composer's apparent enthusiasm, it seems that Ostrovsky only completed one section of his drama — 'Song of the Jew' (Песня Еврея) — and Tchaikovsky never referred to the project again.

Notes and References

  1. Entitled Alexander in Babylon (Александр в Вавилоне) in ČW
  2. Letter 121 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 25 September/7 October 1868.