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Aksinya, a worker at the Ismailov factory (Carole Wilson), warns Katerina about the sexual proclivities of a new employee; but already he is prowling in wait for her, while Boris chastises her for letting her husband depart to one of their corn mills without a tear [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 8, 16:48-18:14]. The poison has been duly sprinkled amid the mushrooms, and Boris writhes in agony. Alexander Vassiliev's priest is duly summoned, administers scant comfort, and considers Boris already delirious when he tries to explain what has happened to him and how he has indeed through Katerina become the rat [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 24, 68:54-70:30].

Ludovit Ludha as Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov. DVD screenshot © 2006 De Nederlandse Opera/Opus Arte
Ludovit Ludha as Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov. DVD screenshot © 2006 De Nederlandse Opera/Opus Arte

Orgasm has duly taken its course, with the predatory Sergey of Christopher Ventris not quite living up to Aksinya's description of his physical appearance. But clearly he is good enough for the deprived Katerina. Inevitably husband Zinovy (Ludovit Ludha) comes torchlit home at precisely the wrong moment, so that he too has to be eliminated [watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 32, 91:40-92:50]. The corpse is bundled into the cellar and the door securely locked. Russia, though, has an endless supply of shabby, mad or drunken peasants; in this case it is Alexandre Kravets (shabby) who breaks open the cellar in search of drink and reports discovery of a stinking body to Nikita Storojev's delighted chief of police [watch and listen -- DVD2 chapter 3, 6:10-7:29].

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Copyright © 10 February 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK


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