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Rimsky-Korsakov and His World$
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Marina Frolova-Walker

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182711

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182711.001.0001

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and His Orient

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and His Orient

(p.145) Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and His Orient
Rimsky-Korsakov and His World

Adalyat Issiyeva

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses Rimsky-Korsakov's last opera, The Golden Cockerel, in the context of his Orientalism, looking at its musical sources and more generally at the complexity of influences at work on an artist working in the capital of a Russian Empire that directed much of its energy and ingenuity to the task of keeping its Asian territories under control. Despite being raised on nineteenth-century Orientalist musical conventions, Rimsky-Korsakov's view of the East underwent a profound transformation and departed from Orientalism; it developed from simple imitation and reliance on the Orientalist truisms to the critique of these very truisms. His last opera's two most fantastic and undeniably eastern characters help to reveal not only the absurdity of Russia's political system but Rimsky-Korsakov's own skepticism vis-à-vis Eurocentric legitimations of colonial conquest.

Keywords:   Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Golden Cockerel, Orientalism, Russian Empire, Asian territories, Orientalist truisms, colonial conquest

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