Visuelle Dimensionen des Antiziganismus
How to cite this chapter

Redepenning, Dorothea: Aleksandr Puškins Poem "Cygany" und Sergej Rachmaninovs Oper "Aleko", in: Reuter, Frank, Gress, Daniela and Mladenova, Radmila (Eds.): Visuelle Dimensionen des Antiziganismus, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021 (Interdisciplinary Studies in Antigypsyism – Book series initiated by the Research Centre on Antigypsyism, Vol. 2), p. 191-202.

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ISBN 978-3-96822-054-3 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-055-0 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-072-7 (Hardcover)

Published 16.12.2021.

Dorothea Redepenning

Aleksandr Puškins Poem "Cygany" und Sergej Rachmaninovs Oper "Aleko"


Abstract The main question of this paper is: how do literary work and libretto relate to one another and what does the music add? A quick look at the tradition of European antiziganism and at the history of music raise the question of how far music can be antiziganist. How did librettists and composers portray “gypsies”? The focus is on Aleksandr Puškin’s poem and Sergej Rachmaninov’s one-act opera. The poem and the libretto are compared. The musical standard idiom, known from several popular works, is not prominent in this opera. Rachmaninov designs Aleko, the Russian and murderer, as the pathetic main character. The stereotypes of the gypsy portrayal that Rachmaninov circumvents in his music predominate two Soviet film adaptations of the opera.