Natalia Petrovna
Composer: Lee Hoiby
Composer Bio: Lee Hoiby was born in Wisconsin in 1926 of Scandinavian extraction. Important European musicians in flight from Hitler forgathered at the remarkable war-time music department of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. At Madison, Hoiby’s prodigious pianistic gift was nurtured by Gunnar Johansen, the Danish virtuoso who privately recorded the complete keyboard works of Bach, Liszt and Busoni. Johansen passed Hoiby on to his own pianistic mentor, the Busoni acolyte Egon Petri, with whom he studied at Cornell and Mills College. On the verge of a career as a concert pianist Hoiby was offered, on the basis of a few works written for fun and submitted without his knowledge, a full scholarship to study composition with Gian Carlo Menotti at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. Hoiby was unable to refuse. Menotti led Hoiby to opera, presenting Hoiby's one-act The Scarf at the first Spoleto (Italy) Festival in 1957.

Hoiby's immense contribution to the song repertoire is recognized by American singers everywhere. His style is an elegant and unobvious bridging of the lyrical worlds of Verdi and Gershwin, which can be profoundly moving or smoothly good-humored, but skirts entirely the modernist obsession with “originality”. He turns frequently to texts of great literary and civic value. Hoiby has also made significant contributions to the piano repertory (in addition to his demanding song accompaniments), including two piano concertos and a volume of solo piano works published by G. Schirmer. His choral music is performed in churches throughout the USA and in Great Britain. Mr. Hoiby has been a recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim fellowships, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award. Numerous concerts devoted exclusively to his music have taken place, most notably on the American Composer's Series at the Kennedy Center in 1990.
Librettist: William Ball
Other Artistic Personnel: William Ball (Director)
Julius Rudel (Conductor)
Howard Bay (Set Designer)
Patton Campbell (Costume Designer)
William Jonson (Chorus Master)
Original Cast: Maria Dornya (Natalia)
John Reardon (Belaev)
John McCollum (Arcady)
Sandra Darling (Vera)
Patricia Brooks (Lisavetta)
Jack Harrold (Doctor)
Muriel Greenspan (Anna Semyonova)
Richard Cross (Rakitin)
Richard Krause (Bolisov)
Anthony Rudel (Kolia)
Premiere Date: October 08, 1964
Producing Company: New York City Opera
Description: Natalia Petrovna is in love with Belaev, the young tutor who is educating her son. Her uncontrollable passion drives away her tame lover, Rakitin, and embitters her husband, Arcady. Natalia accuses Belaev of being in love with her niece, Vera. Belaev, who is secretly in love with Natalia, leaves. Vera, due to Belaev's departure and Natalia's goading, agrees to marry Bolisov. Even Lisavetta, a companion of Arcady's mother, leaves to marry a cynical family doctor. Natalia is left alone with the nucleus of her family: husband, son, and mother-in-law.
Reviews: The New York Times, Harold C. Schonberg, 10-9-64
Comments: The opera is known in its revised version as "A Month in the Country". This revised version received its premiere in Boston in January, 1981.
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: Not Available
Chorus: SATB Chorus
Orchestration: 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn - 3 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn - timp, perc, hp, pf (accordian) - str
Musical Style: Conservative; tonal; post-romantic; traditional harmonies; lyrical vocal lines; rich orchestral texture
Contact: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Address: 229 W 28th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10001
E-mail Address:
Phone: 212-358-5300
Publisher Web Site:
To have your company’s photos included in the header rotation, send photos that are at least 1200px wide and 550px tall to Please note that submission of photos does not guarantee inclusion.
All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212.796.8620 • Fax: 212.796.8621

Privacy PolicyReturns Policy
2015 Form 990FY16 Audited Financial Statement
© Copyright 1995-2017 OPERA America Inc.

Technical issue with the website? Let us know.