OP3208. THE MILLER WHO WAS A WIZARD, A CHEAT and a MATCHMAKER (Sokolovsky), a Singspiel, recorded 1950, w. Alekseev Cond. All-Union Radio Folk Ensemble; Daniil Demyanov, Antonina Klescheva, Varvara Gradova, Konstantin Polyaev & Pavel Pontryagin (The doyen of Russian character tenors). (Russia) Aquarius AQVR 403. - 4607123631843
“Those collectors who are interested in in Russian operatic recordings will recognise the singers as radio artists mainly. Konstantin Polyaev, then 57, is powerful of voice, if a touch rough in places, and creates a living character….Pavel Pontryagin brings sweet tone to Filimon…if not quite up to the standard of leading tenors of the period. Daniil Demyanov, with the least to sing, is a firm-voiced bass.”
- JTH, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2017
“THE MILLER WHO WAS A WIZARD, A CHEAT AND A MATCHMAKER is a Russian ballad opera in three acts with a libretto by Alexander Ablesimov that premiered at Maddox's Theatre, Moscow, on 31 January, 1779. Its folksong-based music was long attributed to Yevstigney Fomin but is now considered to have been by Mikhail Sokolovsky, and others have contributed music to revivals. The greater reputation of Fomin was probably responsible for the misattribution of the opera to him.
The opera was one of the most popular in eighteenth century Russia. Sokolovsky's wife premiered the role of Aniuta, and his sister was in the chorus. Sokolovsky was a violinist at the theatre and much of the music was taken from Russian folksongs. The librettist Ablesimov himself chose many of the folk melodies used. It is also believed that the overture to the opera may have been written by the Bohemian composer, working in Russia, Arnost Vancura.
The opera is one of the few of its kind which survived in performance in Russia into the nineteenth century. A 1915 revival in Moscow included folksongs arranged by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and there was a further revival in Paris in 1929, edited by Nikolai Tcherepnin.”