The opera Zinaida concludes a triptych dedicated to the 20th century Russian poets Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva and Zinaida Gippius. Unlike the first two works, composed in the genre of the mono-drama, Zinaida is a chamber opera for three soloists. The audience will discover the trio of Gippius, Merezhkovsky and Filosofov in Warsaw in 1920, not long before Filosofov's death and the demise of that union. The opera's subtitle – The Gentle Cobra – includes words from the poem Pain:
And I’m so kind,
If I fall in love — I will drain.
As a gentle cobra,
Caressing, I will clasp.
The composer himself took on the role of librettist, taking for his basis the letters, prose, critical articles and poetry of Gippius. The musical delusional episodes are interspersed with spoken dialogues. Zinaida torments her companions, recalls Blok (here we can hear a romance set to his verse "Your tender shoulders I recall") and curses Diaghilev. "This is an opera not just about the complex relationships of the characters, poets of the Silver Age, but also about how revolution emboldened them all," says production director Alexei Stepanyuk. The composer gives Zinaida's lips the prophetic lines of Lermontov: "A year will come, Russia's dark year."
In collaboration with the Academy of Young Opera Singers the composer wrote the operas Bela and The Cossacks and the mono-operas Anna and Marina. This performance marks the work's premiere.