The Oprichnik (Опричник) is an opera in 4 acts and 5 scenes (TH 3 ; ČW 3), based on a story by Ivan Lazhechnikov. It was Tchaikovsky's third completed opera, written between February 1870 and March 1872, with revisions in March 1873, January 1874, November 1874, and October 1878.
The opera is scored for solo voices, mixed chorus, and an orchestra comprising piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in A, B-flat), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in C, D), 3 trombones, tuba + 3 timpani, triangle, cymbals, bass drum + harp, violins I, violins II, violas, cellos, and double basses.
There are eight singing roles:
- Prince Zhemchuzhny (Князь Жемчужный) — bass
- Natalya (Наталья) — soprano
- Molchan Mitkov (Молчан митьков) — bass
- Boyaryna Morozova (Боярына Морозова) — mezzo-soprano
- Andrey Morozov (Андрей Морозов) — tenor
- Basmanov (Басманов) — contralto
- Prince Vyazminsky (Князь Вязьминский) — baritone
- Zakharyevna (Захарьевна) — soprano.
Movements and Duration
The titles and tempo are taken from the first edition of the full score, published in 1896, while the numbering is that used in . Act 2 is divided into two scenes. The titles of numbers in Russian (Cyrillic) are taken from the published score, with English translations added in bold type. Vocal incipits are given in the right-hand column, with transliterations below in italics.(1959)
|Act I||No. 1||Entertainment Scene (Сцена угошения)
|Пожалуй нас, изволь присесть|
Pozhaluy nas, izvol prisest
|No. 2||Chorus of Maidens (Хор девушек)
|На море утушка|
Na more utushka
|Natalya's Song (Песня Натальи)
|Соловушка в дубровушке громко свищет|
Solovushka v dubrovushke gromko zvishchet
|No. 3||Scene (Сцена)
|Тебе бы петь тоскливые всë ресни|
Tebe by pet tosklivye vsyo pesni
|Чудная ты, старуха, право|
Chudnaya ty, starukha, pravo
|No. 4||Scene (Сцена)
Allegro molto e misterioso
|Chorus of Oprichniks (Хор опричников)
Allegro molto e misterioso
|Ты лишь свистни а мы смыслим|
Ty lish svistni a my smyslim
|No. 5||Recitatives (Речитатив)
|Итак, скажи, решился ль ты?|
Itak, skazhi, reshilsya l ty?
|Basmanov's Arioso (Ариозо Басманова)
Moderato assai quasi Andante
|Житье у нас и умирать не надо|
Zhite u nas u ymirat ne nado
|No. 6||Natalya's Arioso (Ариозо Натальи)
|Почудились мне будто голоса|
Pochudilis mne budto golosa
|Round Dance (Хоровод)
Allegro con moto
|За двором лужок, зеленëшенек|
Za dvorom luzhok, zelenyoshenek
|Act II||Entr'acte (Антракт)
|Scene 1||No. 7||Scene (Сцена)
|Как ни гадай|
Kak ni gadai
|Morozova's Aria (Ария Морозовой)
|Я перед волею господней|
Ya pered voleyu gospodney
|No. 8||Scene (Сцена)
|Кручина всë родная!|
Kruchina vsyo rodnaya!
|Duet for Andrey and Morozova (Дуэт Андрея и Морозовой)
Andante non tanto
|Снега белей, солнца светлей|
Snega beley, solntsa svetley
|Scene 2||No. 9||Prelude (Прелюдия)
Andante sostenuto—Allegro giusto
|Камо от греков утаюся!|
Kamo ot grekov utayusya!
|Vyazminsky's Aria (Ария Вязьминского) 
|Друзья, мы в скорбном умиленьи|
Druzya, my v skorbnom ymileni
|[Andrey's Arioso (Ариозо Андрея)]
|Как перед Богом|
Kak pered Bogom
|[Oath Scene (Сцена клятвы)]
Allegro non troppo
|Готов ли ты царю присягу дать?|
Gotov li ty tsaryu prisyagu dat?
|Славен, славен, как солнце в красный день|
Slaven, slaven, kak solntse v krasny den
|Act III||Entr'acte (Антракт)
Andante non troppo
|No. 10||Chorus of People (Хор народа)
|Времена настали злые|
Vremena nastali zlye
|No. 11||Recitatives (Речитатив)
|Как одинока я теперь|
Kak odinoka ya teper
|Chorus of Boys (Хор мальчиков)
|Duet for Natalya and Morozova (Дуэт Натальи и Морозовой)
|Я к тебе прибежала, родная|
Ya k tebe pribezhala, rodnaya
|No. 12||Scene (Сцена)
|Бежим, бежим скорей куда-нибудь|
Bezhim, bezhim skorey kuda-nibud
|Natalya's Arioso (Ариозо Натальи)
|Отец! Как перед Богом|
Otets! Kak pered Bogom
|No. 13||Finale (Финал)
Andante non tanto
|Я не могу ещë понять|
Ya ne mogu yeshchyo ponyat
|[Final Chorus (Хор финал)]
|К царью! К царью!|
K tsaryu! K tsaryu!
|Act IV||No. 14||Wedding Chorus (Свабелнфй хор)
Allegro moderato e maestoso
|Слава, слава доброму молодуцу|
Slava, slava dobromu molodutsu
|No. 15||Dances of Oprichniks and Women (Пляски опричников и женщин)
Allegro giusto—Allegro molto
|No. 16||Recitatives (Речитатив)
|Друзья, и горестен, и сладок этот день!|
Druzya i goresten, i sladok etot den!
|Duet for Andrey and Natalya (Дуэт Андрея и Натальи)
|Ах, скорей бы конец пированью|
Akh, skorey by konets priovanyu
|No. 17||Chorus (Хор)
Allegro moderato e maestoso
|Что-бы сто лет вам не стариться|
Chto-by sto let vam ne staritsya
|Что бледен так?|
Chto bleden tak?
|No. 18||Scene (Сцена)
|Quartet with Chorus (Квартет с хором)
|Ради матушки родимой|
Radi matushki rodimoy
|No. 19||Closing Scene (Заключительная сцена)
|Что ж ты, голубушка?|
Chto zh ty, golobushka?
A complete performance of the opera lasts around 100 minutes.
The first reference to his intention to write an opera "on a subject adapted from Ivan Lazhechnikov's tragedy The Oprichniks" is found in a letter from the composer to Aleksandra Davydova of 5/17 February 1870 . The tragedy The Oprichniks was produced for the first time on the stage of the Maly Theatre in Moscow on 6/18 October 1867, and was performed fifteen times that season, and once more in the 1869/70 season. It is highly likely that Tchaikovsky saw the tragedy, in which Ivan Samarin, Nikolay Vilde, Prov Sadovsky and others took part, which led to the idea of an opera based on the same subject.
Unfortunately no references to Tchaikovsky's work on the libretto have been discovered. For the first scene of Act I, the composer used almost the entire libretto from the first scene of The Voyevoda.
The text of the additional aria for Prince Vyazminsky (Act II, No. 9a) was written in 1878 by Grigory Lishin.
The action takes place in the 16th century in Moscow, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.
Act I. Evening in Prince Zhemchuzhny's garden. The Prince has promised his daughter Natalya in marriage to Molchan Mitkov. She bemoans this fate to her old nurse Zakharyevna and her maids. Her true love Andrey Morozov arrives with his friend Basmanov, the Tsar's favourite, and a group of oprichniks (the Tsar's personal paid bodyguards). On Basmanov's advice, Andrey has decided to join the guard in order to take revenge on the Prince for having robbed and evicted him and his mother. When they have gone, Natalya returns and mourns his loss, unconsoled by the singing and dancing of her maids.
Act II. In her peasant hut (Scene 1), Andrey's mother, the Boyaryna Morozova, laments on her misfortunes and worries about Andrey's association with the oprichniks. Andrey comes to tell her of his friendship with Basmanov, but she refuses all help from the oprichniks. Andrey does not tell her of his plans to enlist. At the Tsar's headquarters in Aleksandrovskoye (Scene 2). Andrey takes a solemn oath of total loyalty to the Tsar, and has to renounce all previous liaisons with his relatives, his mother and his beloved Natalya. Their family's old enemy Prince Vyazminsky does not trust the new recruit, but under pressure from Basmanov, he agrees to accept Andrey as a new oprichnik.
Act III. In a square in Moscow, the crowds complain about the behaviour of the oprichniks, and Andrey's mother is taunted by boys as a “she oprichnik”. Natalya runs into her arms for protection from the pursuing Zhemchuzhny and her old groom. Andrey appears in time to save her, but the two women are horrified to find that his companions are the oprichniks. The Boyaryna Morozova condemns her son, and solemnly disowns and curses him. All are stunned at this turn of events. Basmanov suggests that the Tsar might consent to release him from his oath.
Act IV. At the Tsar's quarters in Aleksandrovskoye, the wedding of Andrey and Natalya is taking place. Andrey is to be released from his oath at midnight. But before that hour, Prince Vyazminsky interrupts the festivities with news that the Tsar has sent for Natalya. Despite Vyazminsky's insistence that this is only a test of Andrey's loyalty, Andrey breaks his oath by refusing to let her go. He is arrested and Natalya is carried away to the Tsar. Vyazminsky leads the Boyaryna Morozova to the window, where she sees Andrey being executed. She screams and collapses to the ground, dead .
Initially work on the opera progressed slowly, is evident from the composer's letters: "I've been terribly lazy of late; the opera is stuck at the first chorus" . "In four weeks I've written nothing" . By mid/late April he had written "only a couple of scenes" .
On 23 April/5 May 1870. the composer wrote to Anatoly Tchaikovsky: "My opera is going very sluggishly. I think the reason for this is that although the subject is very good, it doesn't inspire me" . He reported the same to Ivan Klimenko on 1/13 May: "My opera ("The Oprichnik") is going very sluggishly, and I doubt that it will be finished within two years" .
On 18/30 May, Tchaikovsky travelled abroad, from where he returned in August. On 17/29 September 1870, the composer told Modest Tchaikovsky: "I've had no serious interest in anything all summer, apart from doing some new work on my overture to "Romeo". I'm starting to write the opera again, but very lazily" .
Throughout 1870, work on the opera was largely insignificant. No systematic work was done in the first months of 1871, as during February Tchaikovsky was mainly occupied with composing his First String Quartet.
Tchaikovsky's letters from this period contain only a few brief notes about his work on the opera: 'I'm working little by little" , "I've written a little more of the new opera" , and "I'm writing the opera" .
In the spring, however, work became more intensive. On 29 May/10 June 1871, leaving to spend the summer at Kamenka, Tchaikovsky told Mily Balakirev that "all my soul is committed to composing the opera The Oprichnik" . No information survives as to what was composed at Kamenka. It is only known that by 15/27 July 1871 the instrumentation of Act I had been finished .
Returning to Moscow on 28 September/10 October, the composer told Nikolay Tchaikovsky: "I'm very assiduously composing the opera, which should be ready by the end of the year" . "I expect that this unfortunate opera will suffer the fate of my Undina, but nevertheless I want to finish it, because until then I won't be in a position to give my attention to any other works", he wrote to Mily Balakirev on 22 October/3 November 1871 . In Tchaikovsky's own words, the opera was "progressing slowly" , although he was hurrying to finish it by the spring.
In late December/early January, Tchaikovsky again left to travel abroad, returning in late January/early February 1872 . Information on his work on the opera during this period has not been discovered. According to the date on the manuscript, the instrumentation was completed on 20 March/1 April 1872 in Moscow. In a letter of 4/16 May 1872, Tchaikovsky informed Eduard Nápravník that he was sending the full score to Saint Petersburg the next day, and asked him "to look favourably on this composition and to use your good offices to secure its production" .
In January 1874, Tchaikovsky arrived in Saint Petersburg for discussions with Nápravník concerning the staging of the opera in Saint Petersburg. During rehearsals for this production, Nápravník asked Tchaikovsky to make some changes.
"For four whole days I've been working on cuts and changes to the score", the composer wrote to Anatoly Tchaikovsky on 24 January/5 February. "I've seen Bessel. I'm glad to say that the problems with the censor have been overcome successfully. Everything is ready; from the second week in Lent rehearsals will take place every day" .
In September 1878, Bogomir Korsov, performing the role of Vyazminsky at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, asked Tchaikovsky to write an additional aria for him. The composer flatly refused to carry out this request: " I must warn you that neither now, nor in the foreseeable future, will I be able to fulfil you request, despite my fervent wish to do so. There are certain periods, certain states of mind, when it is impossible to work. I find myself precisely in this state and nothing in the world at this moment could release me from this sort of moral and intellectual torpor which utterly stands between me and any hint of artistic creativity. I put this to you as an artist and as a friend, and ask you not to press the matter" . At this time Tchaikovsky decided to resign from the Moscow Conservatory. While refusing the request, he suggested that Korsov should ask the composer Grigory Lishin to write the additional aria, provided this was stated on the concert bills. But Korsov persisted, and Tchaikovsky relented.
On 7/19 October 1878, the aria was despatched to Korsov . In an accompanying letter, Tchaikovsky wrote: "Here is the aria which I promised you... If you do not consider it to be suitable, remember that I have done you a favour, and that at the moment I'm not at all in the frame of mind for composition... The aria has two couplets. It should be inserted after the chorus 'Its light flows upon us', page 110 in the vocal score, first line, 4th bar".
The composition of this additional aria was confirmed in the following report by Mikhail Ivanov in the journal New Timein 1897: "In passing we note that Tchaikovsky wrote a separate aria for the part of Vyazminsky, when The Oprichnik was given in Moscow. He wrote it especially for Mr Korsov, who has kept it until now. The aria was not considered to be meretricious, either by the composer or the artist, and has never been performed or published" . The vocal-piano score of this aria was only rediscovered and published in 1986 .
In his article, Mikhail Ivanov also mentions that Tchaikovsky wrote an additional aria for Olga Puskova, a singer at the Kiev Theatre who performed the role of Basmanov. This is borne out by a letter from Tchaikovsky to Iosif Setov of 18/30 November 1874: "For God's sake don't think that I have forgotten my promise to write an aria for Puskova... I certainly don't know where to incorporate an aria for Basmanov. If inserted in the first act after Andrey's additional aria, wouldn't it hold up the action? For God's sake tell me where to insert this aria and what the text should be, whether you still want this, and whether you want it to be sent to you or should I write it when I come to Kiev?" .
It is unclear whether this additional aria for Basmanov was written, or whether he had already produced his own additional aria for Andrey in Act I.
In later years (1884–88), Tchaikovsky often talked about the need for radical alterations to the opera . During the last year of his life, Tchaikovsky firmly decided to make a new version of The Oprichnik, and he withdrew the manuscript score from the music department of the Imperial Theatres. However, he did not succeed in carrying out this intention, and the full score was returned to the music department after the composer's death.
According to the composer's brother Modest, the Entr'acte to Act II of the opera was composed and orchestrated by Tchaikovsky's student Vladimir Shilovsky , but there is no evidence of this in Tchaikovsky's autograph score.
The vocal-piano score was arranged for voices with piano by Tchaikovsky between February and April 1873 .
Tchaikovsky entrusted the publisher Vasily Bessel with arrangements for the production of the opera in Saint Petersburg . This production was considerably delayed, and met with a number of difficulties, principally from the censor . The first production of the opera eventually took place in Saint Petersburg on 12/24 April 1874 at the Mariinsky Theatre, for Eduard Nápravník's benefit, and was conducted by him. The soloists were: Vasily Vasilyev I (Zhemchuzhny), Wilhelmina Raab (Natalya), Vladimir Sobolev (Mitkov), Aleksandra Krutikova (Morozova), Dmitry Orlov (Andrey), Vasily Vasilyev II (Basmanov), Ivan Melnikov (Vyazminsky) and Olga Schroeder (Zakharyevna).
From the first rehearsals, Tchaikovsky experienced a profound disappointment with his composition. "No movement, no style, no inspiration!" . "I couldn't stand the fiasco, yet at the same time received an excellent lesson in opera composition, because at the first rehearsals I could see my elementary blunders which I shall certainly not commit when writing my next operas", the composer wrote to Vasily Bessel on 18/30 May 1874 . However, Bessel later recalled that the first production in Saint Petersburg "was a real triumph for Tchaikovsky; it undoubtedly rekindled his interest in the operatic genre... and also consolidated his aptitude for the stage" .
The Oprichnik was first produced on the Moscow stage on 4/16 May 1875 in the Bolshoi Theatre, at the benefit for singer Stepan Demidov, conducted by Eduard Merten, with soloists: Stepan Demidov (Zhemchuzhny), Smelskaya (Natalya), Yevlaliya Kadmina (Morozova), Aleksandr Dodonov (Andrey), Anna Aristova (Basmanov) and Platon Radonezhsky (Vyazminsky). Tchaikovsky wrote on 12/24 May to Anatoly Tchaikovsky: "I was present at numerous rehearsals of The Oprichnik, and with stoical fortitude I endured the systematic mutilation of this ill-fated opera, but without disgracing myself. However, the production of The Oprichnik last Sunday did not correspond with my expectations, in the sense that I was expecting far worse. They all tried very hard" .
The Oprichnik was the first of Tchaikovsky's operas to be performed on the provincial stages. On 26 July/7 August 1874, The Oprichnik had exceptional success in Odessa, in a joint production production between Ferdinand Berger's opera company and the Saint Petersburg Imperial Opera. The cast included Wilhelmina Raab (Natalya), Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya (Morozova), Dmitry Orlov (Andrey) and Bogomir Korsov (Vyazminsky).
In Kiev the premiere took place at the city's Opera Theatre on 9/21 December 1874 in the presence of the composer, with Yekaterina Massini (Natalya), Mariya Ilyina (Morozova), Dmitry Orlov (Andrey), Olga Puskova (Basmanov), and Fyodor Stravinsky (Vyazminsky). Press reports were also favourable.
In the 1879/80 season, The Oprichnik should have been revived on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The premiere was scheduled for 28 December/9 January, but after the dress rehearsals the production was cancelled by government decree. Tchaikovsky wrote about this to Nadezhda von Meck on 8/20 February 1880: "The story of The Oprichnik is very curious: it has been banned, because the subject is considered to be too revolutionary for the present time" .
A concert performance of The Oprichnik was given at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh on 20 August 1992, conducted by Mark Ermler. The soloists were: Piotr Nowacki (Zhemchuzhny), Galina Gorchakova (Natalya), David Morrison (Mitkov), Ludmila Nam (Morozova), Paolo Kudriavchenko (Andrey), Anne Collins (Basmanov), Vladimir Gluschak (Vyazminsky) and Fiona Kimm (Zakharyevna). This appears to have been the first complete performance in Great Britain .
The vocal score of The Oprichnik was duly published by Bessel in February 1874 . During publication, the censors demanded changes to the text of Basmanov's arioso. And so, in a letter to Bessel of 25 March/6 April 1873, Tchaikovsky wrote: "I'm sending you the lines to replace the proscribed text in Basmanov's arioso... Of course, the previous lines were better, but these will have to do" .
On 30 May/11 June 1891, Vasily Bessel suggested to Tchaikovsky that the full score should be published, but met with strong opposition. In a letter to Bessel of 2/14 June 1891 from Maydanovo, Tchaikovsky wrote: "I absolutely forbid you to engrave, print or publish the full score of my opera 'The Oprichnik'... The reason is as follows: The full score of an opera should only be printed if and when it is being staged somewhere, and with this in mind, there is clearly no demand at present. Currently the opera The Oprichnik is being given nowhere, and while I am alive I will do everything possible to prevent it being put on anywhere in Russia, at least not in its present form. To print an opera which is being performed nowhere, which is musically deficient and with absolutely outrageous orchestration, would be completely irrational. You know that I've more or less decided at some future date to subject The Oprichnik to radical revisions. Provided I live long enough, I shall certainly do this at the first opportunity" .
Vasily Bessel did not publish the full score during Tchaikovsky's lifetime. It was first published only in 1896 (passed by the censor on 16/28 October 1896). Sergey Taneyev assisted in preparing the full score for publication.
The full score and vocal-piano arrangement of The Oprichnik were published in volumes 3 and 34 respectively of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Anatoly Dmitriyev (1959). They include the original versions of the scenes revised by the composer after the opera's premiere.
Tchaikovsky's manuscript full score of the opera is preserved in the Central Music Library of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg (VII.1.4.154).
The autograph of the composer's vocal-piano score has been lost, but his piano arrangement of the opera's Introduction survives in the Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 37) [view], and his arrangement of the Act III Entr'acte is in the Klin House-Museum Archive (a1, No. 4).
The Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture also hold the autographs of Tchaikovsky's libretto for the opera (ф. 88, No. 38) [view], and a draft outline scenario (ф. 42, No. 274b) [view].
The opera is dedicated to Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich (1827–1892), who was President of the Russian Musical Society.
While composing the opera The Oprichnik, Tchaikovsky used music from his destroyed opera The Voyevoda (1867-68), and some other works:
- Act I, No. 1. The opening Allegretto comodo is based on an episode in Act I (No. 7) of the earlier opera
- Act I, No. 2. The opening Chorus of Maidens is reworked from the opening chorus (Act I, No. 1) of The Voyevoda, and the following song for Natalya is based on Maryaa's Song (Act II, No. 5) from the same opera
- Act I, No. 3. This scenes is also partly based on music from Act I (No. 2) of The Voyevoda
- Act I, No. 4. The Scene is based on music from Act I (No. 3) of the earlier opera
- Act I, No. 6. The Chorus (from bar 123) is based on the Khorovod (Act II, No. 9) from The Voyevoda
- Act II, No. 8. The opening C-major section of the Scene is based on Bastryukov's Aria (Act II, No. 2) from The Voyevoda, and the end of the Duet is taken from Act II (No. 3) of the same
- Act IV, No. 16. Andrei's farewell speech is based on Bastryukov's Song from Act I (No. 9) of The Voyevoda, and the Andante sostenuto section of the following Duet (from bar 237) uses a theme from the central section of the symphonic fantasia Fatum.
The Dances of Oprichniks and Women (Act IV, No. 15) are based on the folksongs Our Wine Cellar (Винный наш колодец), Floating and Rising (Плывет, восплывает), Master Andrey Made Merry (Гулял Андрей господин), Merry Katya (Катенька веселая) and Little Ivan Wears a Big Hat (На Иванушке чапан). The melodies of these songs were used in Tchaikovsky's collection of Fifty Russian Folksongs for piano duet (1868-69).
Notes and References
- The autograph full score does not use through-numbering, while the first editions have the Introduction as "No. 1", the following Entertainment Scene as "No. 2", etc., up to the closing scene of Act III ("No. 20").
- This additional aria was written in 1878, and was published for the first time in 1986. It does not, therefore, appear in any editions of the opera published prior to that date.
- Ivan Lazhechnikov's tragedy The Oprichnik was written in 5 acts and 11 scenes. In his libretto, Tchaikovsky made some changes to the structure of the tragedy.
- Letter 179 to Aleksandra Davydova, 5/17 February 1870.
- From (2002), p. 22–23.
- Letter 184 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 7/19 March 1870.
- Letter 185 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 26 March/7 April 1870.
- Letter 188 to Lev Davydov, mid/late April 1870.
- Letter 189 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 23 April/5 May 1870.
- Letter 190 to Ivan Klimenko, 1/15–4/16 May 1870.
- Letter 206 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 17/29 September 1870.
- Letter 215 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 1/13 November 1870.
- Letter 219 to Aleksandra Davydova, 20 December 1870/1 January 1871.
- Letter 228 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 3/15 February 1871.
- Letter 235 to Mily Balakirev, 29 May/10 June 1871.
- See Letter 236 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 15/27 July 1871.
- Letter 240 to Nikolay Tchaikovsky, 28 September/10 October 1871.
- Letter 242 to Mily Balakirev, 8/20 October 1871.
- See Letter 243 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 2/14 December 1871, and Letter 244 to Aleksandra Davydova, 9/21 December 1871.
- See Letter 249 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 1/13 January 1872, and Letter 251 to Ilya Tchaikovsky, 31 January/12 February 1872.
- Letter 255 to Eduard Nápravník, 4/16 May 1872.
- Letter 336 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 24 January/5 February 1874. In 1873 Lent began on 11/23 February, so the rehearsals mentioned by Tchaikovsky presumably began on 18 February/2 March.
- Letter 919 to Bogomir Korsov, 22 September/4 October 1878.
- Letter 933 to Bogomir Korsov, 7/19 October 1878.
- Новое время [New Time], 8 September 1896.
- A manuscript copy of this additional aria made by the conductor Eduard Nápravník is preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive. See N. N. Sinkovskaya, (1986).
- Letter 371 to Iosif Setov, 18/30 November 1874.
- See Letter 2573 to Vasily Bessel, 22 October/3 November 1884, and the composer's diary entries for 12/24, 15/27 and 16/28 November 1886.
- See Modest's claim is challenged in (2006), p. 39. (1900), p. 390. However,
- See Letter 288 to Ilya Tchaikovsky, 5/17 February 1873, and Letter 299 to Vasily Bessel, 21 April/3 May 1873.
- See Letter 284 to Vasily Bessel, 2/14 January 1873.
- See Letter 296 and Letter 322 to Vasily Bessel, 25 March/6 April 1873 and 18/30 October 1873.
- Letter 351 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 27 April/9 May 1874.
- Letter 352 to Vasily Bessel, 18/30 May 1874.
- Vasily Bessel, (1898).
- Letter 400 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 12/24 May 1875. Prior to this production, the Wedding Chorus (Act IV, No. 14) had been performed at the 7th Russian Musical Society symphony concert in Moscow on 21 January/2 February 1872, conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein. The latter also conducted the Entr'acte & Chorus of People (Act III, No. 10), Natalya's Arioso (Act I, No. 6), the Duet (Act IV, No. 16) and the Dances of the Oprichniks and Women (Act IV, No. 15) at the 9th RMS symphony concert in the city on 14/26 March 1874, with Aleksandra Aleksandrova-Kochetova as Natalya, and Aleksandr Dodonov as Andrey.
- Letter 1423 to Nadezhda von Meck, 8/20–10/22 February 1880. The censor appears to have relented, and the opera was produced at the Bolshoi on 12/24 February 1880, conducted by Enrico Bevignani.
- It should be noted that the opera's Introduction and the Dances of Oprichniks and Women (Act IV, No. 15) received their British premieres at a promenade concert in the Queen's Hall, London on 8/21 September 1905, conducted by Henry Wood.
- A copy of this agreement is preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.
- See Letter 340 to Eduard Nápravník, 19 February/3 March 1874.
- Letter 296 to Vasily Bessel, 25 March/9 April 1873.
- Letter 4389 to Vasily Bessel, 2/14 June 1891.