St Petersburg, The Prokofiev Hall

The Turnip

opera by Rustam Sagdiev


Luydmila Gradova
Yuri Yevchuk
Yekaterina Bondarenko
Oxana Motorina
Shota Chibirov
Anna Barkhatova
Anna Shulgina

Piano: Alexei Tikhomirov

Premiere: 24 December 2016, Mariinsky Theatre

The opera is dedicated to the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers and its Director Larisa Gergieva

Running time 40 minutes
The performance without interval

Age category 0+


Music and libretto by Rustam Sagdiev
Libretto by the composer after motifs of Russian folklore

Musical Director: Larisa Gergieva
Director: Alla Chepinoga
Set Technologist: Nadezhda Abramova
Costume Technologist: Tatiana Mashkova
Lighting Designer: Yegor Kartashov


The Cat and the dog Zhuchka have got into the habit of insulting the little Mouse. They have teased her and teased her and even fought, resulting in both the Cat and the Mouse having had enough of Zhuchka. Now Zhuchka feels sorry for having hurt the Cat and the Mouse and for not saying "sorry". The dog begins to beg forgiveness from everyone – from the Little Lime-Tree, the Little Aspen-Tree, the Little Birch-Tree and the Granddaughter. But the Granddaughter does not forgive him, unable to forget that he barks and bites all the time.

The Granddaughter plans to go for a walk. But the Grandmother won't let her out until the girl cleans the house and helps her in the kitchen-garden. The Grandmother is annoyed at the Granddaughter and the latter runs away. The Grandfather tries to stand up for her, but the Grandmother drives him away too.

Everyone is annoyed: the Mouse at the Cat, the Cat at Zhuchka, Zhuchka at the Granddaughter, the Granddaughter at the Grandmother and the Grandmother at the Grandfather. The downcast Grandfather goes into the dark forest, digs the ground and plants the Turnip. The Turnip grows and grows to an immense size. The Grandfather tries to pull it out of the ground: he yanks and tugs, but cannot pull it out. The Grandmother comes to him and asks for old resentments to be forgotten; she gives him a pastry and offers her help. But the Turnip won't give up. Then they call for the Granddaughter to help. She apologises for not helping the Grandmother and promises to listen to her from now on and respect her elders. All three try to pull out the Turnip, but still to no avail. They call on Zhuchka. The Granddaughter makes peace with Zhuchka and together they help the old couple to pull on the Turnip. Then the Cat comes to help. She and Zhuchka promise never to quarrel again and to look after each other. But the Cat's help is still not enough.

The Mouse comes running up to them. The Cat apologises to her for teasing her. The Mouse behind the Cat, the Cat behind Zhuchka, Zhuchka behind the Granddaughter, the Granddaughter behind the Grandmother and the Grandmother behind the Grandfather all pull and pull at the Turnip and succeed in pulling it out. It turns out that the Turnip has magic powers that help everyone make peace. Thus the Turnip teaches the heroes of the tale to value and respect those they love.

Rustam Sagdiev (1990 –) has been a soloist of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers since 2011. Audiences will have seen him as the Poppy in Tikhon Khrennikov's opera The Boy Giant, Bastien in Mozart's singspiel Bastien und Bastienne, Nikolenka in Scenes from the Life of Nikolenka Irteniev by Sergei Banevich and other chamber operas which are performed at the Prokofiev Hall of the Mariinsky II.
Having significant performing experience, Sagdiev decided to try himself out as a composer. The Little Turnip is his first opera. The idea behind its creation belongs to Larisa Gergieva, Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers. She proposed that the young composer write an opera for children based on a Russian theme, the folkloric nature of which would be present not just in the music but also in the texts and plot as well.
"The basic material of the opera is songs from different regions of Russia, somewhat stylised, clearly altered, and yet nevertheless recognisable. In a sense, this opera may be referred to as an iconic example of Russian folklore for children,"the composer says.
The plot, familiar from the fairy-tale to all children, features small additions. As well as the main characters the stage will see appearances by the Little Birch-Tree, the Little Lime-Tree, the Little Aspen-Tree, the Little Nightingale and the Jester, who will act as the storyteller. The composer makes use of such instruments as the triangle, woodblock, the spoons, rattle and balalaika. Olga Vokina

Any use or copying of site materials, design elements or layout is forbidden without the permission of the rightholder.

The highlighting of performances by age represents recommendations.

This highlighting is being used in accordance with Federal Law N436-FZ dated 29 December 2010 (edition dated 1 May 2019) "On the protection of children from information that may be harmful to their health"