Last updated: Apr. 28, 1997

Vil'jam Ratklif

William Ratcliff

an opera in three acts

Composed by Cesar Cui

Libretto by Viktor Krylov, after Pleshcheev's translation of Heine's drama

Date of composition: 1861-1868

First Performed: 1869

Click here to hear my MIDI arrangement of the orchestral Introduction to the opera.

Cast of Characters

Servants, wedding guests, swindlers, robbers

Setting: Action in northern Scotland in the 17th century


Maria has lost two suitors to the murderous hand of William Ratcliff, whom she fears but really loves. Her latest groom, Douglas, succeeds at defeating and wounding Ratcliff. But Ratcliff finds Maria, kills her father, her, and then he himself dies.
[Melnikov as William Ratcliff in the first production (1869)]

Author: Lyle Neff,
Last Updated: July 1996