An interesting find in the central scientific library of Kharkiv national university

Кateryna Yu. Elyseeva


The article is devoted to the hand-written book by Vasily Brekhov «Kratkoye soderzhaniye rossiyskoy opery» («The Brief Content of the Russian Opera») housed in the Central Scientific Library of Kharkov National University.

The book does not have an author's title, its name in the catalog is taken from the subtitle of the book's first part. This is an opera's libretto, the manuscript was presented by the author, retired ensign Vasily Brekhov, to Russian Empress Elizabeth I. The author offered to stage it as the first opera on Russian text. Starting the book with a dedication to Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the author writes that foreign musicians invited to the imperial court left it  without leaving their pupils and went to their homeland, taking care only of their own prosperity. But he, Vasily Brekhov, visited the opera house and heard a lot of music there, he composed his own opera, which he presented to Empress. The author of the book calls himself a composer, although there is no musical material in the book. The book is not dated by the author, but one of the sheets has the watermark 1747, so the book was written not earlier than this year. On the other hand, it could not be written after 1755, when Araya's opera on Sumarokov's text «Cephalus and Procris»was staged.

The book belonged to the library of Prince Nikolai Repnin, which is indicated on her bookplate. Most likely, the book was written in a single copy because there isn’t other information about it. Undoubtedly, this edition is one of  the rarest examples of 18th-century culture and requires further research by specialists in art history.

Keywords: XVIII century, Central scientific library of KhNU, opera, theater, Repnin.  


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Copyright (c) 2018 Elyseeva Yu. Кateryna

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