The Letters of James Joyce, as edited by Richard Ellmann, reveal that the writer took a fancy to Rimsky-Korsakov's The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, which played several times in Paris in the nineteen-twenties and thirties. Joyce writes to his son and daughter-in-law in 1935: “I went to hear Rimsky’s Kittege again at the Opéra Comique with Zaporoyetz as Prince Yuri. Che splendore di voce. Ampia, estesa, facile e maestosa [What splendor of voice. Ample, outstretched, unstrained, and majestic] ... His part lasts about 10 minutes. But it is majestically beautiful, better than 6 years ago.” Above is Capiton Zaporojetz singing Mussorgsky's "Song of the Flea" — one of two Zaporojetz recordings I found on the Internet. The 1929 performances to which Joyce refers — and which he evidently also attended — came by way of Maria Kuznetsova and Alfred Massenet's Opéra Privé de Paris. (The great Kuznetsova originated the role of the maiden Fevroniya.) Here is Boris Christoff singing Prince Yuri's aria — "O glory, vain wealth! ... Kitezh, Kitezh! Where is your glory?"
I will give a talk on Wagner and Joyce at the Galway Arts Festival on July 28.