Monna Vanna by Sergei Rachmaninoff


'''''Monna Vanna''''' () is an unfinished opera by Sergei Rachmaninoff after a play by Maurice Maeterlinck. Rachmaninoff had completed Act I in short vocal score, with piano accompaniment, and then he went to ask for permission to set the text in a full three-act treatment. However, another composer, Henry Février, had by then received the rights to an operatic setting of the text. Had Rachmaninoff proceeded to a complete operatic setting, such a work could not have been produced in European countries that were signatories to copyright laws that covered the work of Maeterlinck. This opera could only have been produced in countries that at the time were not signatories to European copyright law, such as Russia. Ultimately, Rachmaninoff abandoned further work on this opera and never wrote a complete setting.Geoffrey Norris, "Tantalising torso". ''The Musical Times'', '''133(1792)''', p. 302 (1992).

Years later, at the request of Sophie Satin, Rachmaninoff's sister-in-law,[] Igor Buketoff prepared a performing orchestrated edition of Act I, which he conducted in its world premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra on 11 August 1984 at Saratoga, New York with Tatiana Troyanos in the title role, Sherrill Milnes as Guido, and John Alexander as Guido's father.[ Will Crutchfield, "Rachmaninoff's ''Monna Vanna'' Fragment". ''New York Times'', 13 August 1984] He also made the premiere recording of the work, with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.