• Find us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Follow us on Instagram
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • View our scores on nkoda

English Deutsch
Music Text

Libretto by Louis Nowra (E)


S,M,2T,2Bar,BBar,minimum of 6 male mimes
1(=picc).1.1(=bcl).0- susp.cym/tom-t/SD/
large susp.cym/SD/glsp/TD/medium gong with boss/large gong with boss/
BD/SD/medium susp.cym/marimba/glsp-harp-pft(with amplifier)-db

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Melbourne, VIC
Peter Jordan, director
Conductor: Richard Divall
Company: Victoria State Opera

Time and Place

Russia, 1741


Guards wash a prisoner, Ivan, who can only say his name. One of them — Leo — tells his colleague Mirovich about the boy, who is purported to be the rightful Emperor, sent to prison by the Empress Catherine. Mirovich constructs a plan: they will take Ivan to St Petersburg, where they will declare him Emperor. If their scheme works it will win them fame and fortune. By murdering a major for his uniform, they succeed in getting Ivan out and dressed as a person of standing. They prepare a declaration in the name of Ivan VI. In the woods outside St Petersburg, however, Leo and Mirovich come to blows, but their fighting is interrupted by a deputation from the city, where news of Ivan has arrived just as Catherine has died. Before moving on to the city Mirovich slits Leo's throat: he wants all the power for himself. He explains to Ivan that he is his friend and they rehearse his coronation. In St Petersburg, Ivan gains in confidence and word-power, though his interests remain childish. A woman calling herself Princess Ali and pretending to be the illegitimate daughter of Ivan's father is bought off with a promise of marriage. Mirovich, meanwhile, believes he has been poisoned. He warns Ivan that he is to be overthrown, but the Emperor is gleeful at the death of the man who has bullied him so long and kicks him repeatedly. Ivan and his guards round all the others up, including Princess Ali, and accuse them of plotting against him. He starts to beat them. Finally, seated on the throne, Ivan raves about the voices he hears everywhere, telling him what to do.



Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications