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Music Text

Libretto by Alexander Preis and the composer, based on a short story by Nikolai Leskov (R)


3(II=picc,III=picc,afl).3(III=corA).4(IV=Ebcl).3(III=dbn)- band:4crt/2tpt/2ahn/2thn/2barhn/2tuba

Abbreviations (PDF)

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes / Sikorski for the UK, British Commonwealth (excluding Canada), Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel.


World Premiere
Stanislavsky & Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre, Moscow
Lev Mikhailov, director / Gennadi Provitorov
Repertoire Note

‘Katerina Ismailova’ is the alternative name of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District op.29. As op.114, the work is a revision of the original opera, with two new entr’actes, a major revision to Act 1 Scene 3, and smaller changes elsewhere. In his lifetime, Shostakovich gave it out that he preferred the piece to be performed in this later revision. Nowadays it is usually played in the original version (op.29) which itself poses problems of alternative readings as the composer was already busy revising the piece at the time of its first performances in the 1930s.

Note by Gerard McBurney

Recommended Recording

Galina Vishnevskaya/Nicolai Gedda/Dimiter Petkov/Ambrosian Opera Chorus
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich
EMI 7243 5 67776 2 0 (2CD)

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