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E. Smagina

A. Sapienza junior and his opera “Tamerlan”: to the question of the origins of “orientalism” at the Russian opera theater of the 19th century

This article is devoted to the composer of the first half of the XIX century, «Russian Italian» Antonio Sapienza Jr., who is forgotten today. Briefly highlighting his creative heritage, the author focuses on the Opera «Tamerlan», unknown to musicology, presented for the first time. Concept of the work, created in 1828, is examined in a context of fascination of the Russian musical theater of the first third of the19th century with the East. Among the works with «Eastern» theme (listed at the end of the article) are ballets of C. Cavos («Prisoner of the Caucasus»), F. Antonolini («The Caliph of Baghdad»), F. Scholz – L. Maurer («Oriental magician»), opera K. Kavos «Die Ruinen Babylons» and other opuses. The Opera «Tamerlane» is analyzed in the aspect of refraction of «Oriental» features in it. In this regard, the author highlights some of the features of the musical drama and scenography of the opera. The author puts emphasis on the main characters: the terrible «Khan of the East» – conqueror Tamerlane, beautiful Seida and her beloved Mokthar, and also touches upon the scene of prayer in the mosque, the character of the Mufti. A number of musical examples that give an idea of the composer’s ability to write in an «Oriental» style are published for the first time. The author indicates such features of the style as the ornamental melody with the use of melismas; free, «improvisational» rhythm, «Eastern» mode with an augmented second.

Key words

Antonio Sapienza Jr., «Tamerlan», «Oriental» Opera, Seida, Mokthar.