Le Coq d'Or
Director: Thomas Grimm
Distributor: Digital Classics Distribution Ltd.
Lenght: 105 mins.
16:9 shot in 1080i HDTV | stereo & 5.1 surround sound
© 2003, a co-production with NHK, TDK & ZDF/arte
Rim­sky-Kor­sakov epi­tom­ises the fant­ast­ic side of the Rus­si­an soul. Re­gard­ing op­era as "es­sen­tially the most en­chant­ing and in­tox­ic­at­ing of lies," he drew on his coun­try’s rich folk her­it­age to cre­ate a fairy-tale world in which the fanci­ful and com­mon­place were fused through ex­tra­vag­ant or­ches­tral vir­tu­os­ity and fer­vently Ro­mantic vo­cal writ­ing. This Châtelet re­viv­al of "Le coq d’or" brought to the stage once again by the great Ka­buki act­or En­nosuke III is per­formed by the Or­chestre de Par­is and the Chor­us of the Mari­in­sky Theatre of St. Peters­burg, con­duc­ted by Kent Nagano and sung by Or­lin Ana­s­tas­soy (King Dodon), Olga Tri­fonova (Queen of She­makha), Ilya Ban­nik (Gen­er­al Polkan) and Barry Banks (The As­tro­lo­ger).

Com­pleted in 1907, "Le coq d’or", based on Pushkin’s 1834 poem, was Rim­sky- Kor­sakov’s last op­era. It was also his most pro­voc­at­ive. In 1904 the Ja­pan­ese gov­ern­ment, des­pair­ing of ever be­ing able to per­suade the Rus­si­ans to give them back Man­churia, launched a nav­al at­tack on Port Ar­thur.
The Rus­si­an de­fences were dis­or­gan­ised and lost not only the open­ing battle but also the ma­jor­ity of the en­su­ing con­flicts, with the army and navy hu­mi­li­ated by a coun­try thought in­cap­able of or­gan­ising any ser­i­ous mil­it­ary threat. Shortly after the Ja­pan­ese vic­tory in 1906, Rim­sky-Kor­sakov began "Le coq d’or", us­ing a lib­retto that turned Pushkin’s ori­gin­al tale in­to a satire of mil­it­ary in­com­pet­ence, ar­is­to­crat­ic stu­pid­ity and polit­ic­al cor­rup­tion. When he com­pleted the score the fol­low­ing year, he was forced to sub­mit it to the cen­sor with the res­ult that it was barred from pro­duc­tion. Rim­sky-Kor­sakov died in 1908 without ever hav­ing heard the op­era per­formed. When it fi­nally reached the Mo­scow stage in 1909, it was with sub­stan­tial changes im­posed by the cen­sor.

"Le coq d’or" is also avail­able as DVD & Blu-Ray.