Yevstigney Fomin

Yevstigney Fomin

  • Born
    16th August 1761
  • Died
    27th April 1800
  • Birthplace
    Saint Petersburg, Russia
Yevstigney Ipat'yevich Fomin was a Russian opera composer of the 18th century. Fomin was born in St. Petersburg into the family of a cannoneer, an artillery soldier of the Tobolsk infantry regiment. His father died when he was 6, and he passed into the care of his stepfather, I. Fedotov, a soldier. Fedotov took him to the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg on 21 April 1767, where Fomin studied architecture. As a full student there, he began learning the harpsichord in 1776 with Matteo Bumi. From 1777 he studied theory and composition with Hermann Raupach, and from 1779 with Blasius Sartori. In 1782 he went to Bologna to study with Padre Martini and Stanislao Mattei; three years later he was accepted into the Accademia filarmonica. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1785, he taught at the theatrical school and composed operas. From 1797 he was répétiteur for the imperial theater under Paul I. He composed about 30 operas including Yamshchiki na podstave [The Coachmen at the Relay Station] (1787); Vecherinki [Soirées] (1788); Orfey i Evridika (1792), Amerikantsy [The Americans] (a comic opera) (1800), and Zolotoye yabloko [The Golden Apple] (performed after the composers death in 1803). The most successful for decades was his opera-melodrama Orfey i Evridika to a text by Yakov Knyazhnin. It was re-staged in Soviet times in 1947 in Moscow, and in 1953 and in 1961 in Leningrad. The famous one-act opera Anyuta to a text by Mikhail Popov has been occasionally attributed to Fomin (which is not a certainty). In addition, Fomin has been credited with the music of another successful Russian opera Melnik – koldun, obmanshchik i svat (The miller who was a wizard, a cheat and a matchmaker, Moscow, 1779), on a subject resembling Rousseau’s Le devin du village: it is possible that this was his revision of the music compiled by a theatre violin player, Mikhail Sokolovsky.

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