Sergei Rachmaninoff’s was a renowned pianist and composer.
Born on April 1, 1873, he started playing the piano from age four and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892. In ensuing decades, he had a solid career as a composer and pianist, creating all of his operas during this period. However, the outbreak of the Russian Revolution forced him and his family to leave for New York.
He placed a greater emphasis on performance in New York, diminishing the time he ahd available for composition. In fact, between 1918 and 1943, he only composed six works.
In sum he composed three operas, though he left a few unfinished and underdeveloped.
He died on March 28, 1943.
Rachmaninoff’s operas have never been a fixture of the standard repertory, though “Aleko” has recently started to see an uptick in its performances around the world. The opera was showcased at the New York City Opera alongside Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” with the two works sharing very similar stories.
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Watch and Listen
Here is a recording of “Aleko.”