Music by Valery Gavrilin
Libretto by Alexander Belinsky and Vladimir Vasiliev after the story Anna on the Neck by Anton Chekhov
Production Choreography: Vladimir Vasiliev
Set and costume Designer: Victor Volsky
Lighting Designer: Alexander Naumov
Video Designer: Eric Islamov
Premiere: 21 January 1986, Teatro San Carlo, Naples
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre: 8 December 2023, Mariinsky Theatre
After the death of his wife, a provincial town teacher, Pyotr Leontyevich, is left with three children: an adult daughter, Anna, and younger sons, Petya and Andryusha. Longing for his untimely departed wife, he increasingly drinks a decanter of vodka.
An elderly official, Modest Alekseevich, is wooing Anna. The girl agrees to marry him, thereby hoping to escape from a gray, monotonous, half-starved life and save her family from poverty.
Anyuta breaks up with her first love - a poor student - and after the wedding she moves into the house of Modest Alekseevich. Very soon she realizes that the benefits she was counting on are a mirage: the husband is stingy, cold, practical and does not intend to help his wife’s relatives.
Christmas comes, and with it a festive ball, at which Anyuta captivates the men present with her youth and beauty. Everyone is vying with each other to win the attention and sympathy of Modest Alekseevich’s young wife. The rich master Artynov, the officers and, finally, his Excellency himself are carried away by Anna Petrovna. They are ready to do anything to please her. Anyuta’s head is spinning from such unexpected success. The attention and love of the high society of a provincial town makes her forget about everything: about her disgusting husband, about her drunken father, about her unfortunate brothers living from hand to mouth, about her recently beloved student.
Modest Alekseevich understands how much benefit can be derived from his wife’s virtues and encourages her “cupids.” His career and position in society are higher than other interests. Very soon he receives the Order of St. Anne and looks forward to new favors from the patron of his wife. Pyotr Leontyevich is declared an insolvent debtor. His few remaining belongings are seized, and he and his children are driven out into the street on a frosty night.
At the city skating rink, Anyuta indulges in carefree fun, surrounded by admiring fans. Carried away by the gentlemen, she rushes past her father and brothers without noticing them.