Sources for the Artistic Biography of Catterino Cavos


Thanks to Catterino Cavos’s contribution to the education of the musical personnel and to the national operatic
repertoire, Russian critics acknowledge him to have the most important part in the musical life of their country.
The aim of the present article is to disclose inedited supplementary sources, in order to add new information
useful not only for the issue of Cavos’s role in the Russian musical milieu of the early 19th-century, but also
for the issue of historiography of Russian opera. These materials, mainly forming part of the collection of
Central State Bakhrushin Theater Museum in Moscow, are here published for the first time. They allow to
shed light on life and activity of the composer as maestro di cappella in St. Petersburg. Cavos’s activity is
viewed as a transition stage between the moment when the operatic culture was imported in the Russian
Empire and the time when, because of emerging national consciousness, Russian opera in itself developed.
Cavos’s opera Ivan Susanin is understood as an intermediate passage between 18th-century comic operas and
Mikhail Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, which is considered the first Russian opera by Soviet musicologists.