3 Basses, 2 Baritones, 4 Tenors, 2 Mezzo Sopranos, 2 Sopranos
Peter I and Sofia, his half-sister and regent, are in a struggle for the Czarist Empire. Peter intends to modernise the Empire; Sofia wants all the power for herself. Anastasia is dismayed by Peter’s “godless” plans. Her fiancé, the Tikhon, is one of Peter’s partisans. A revolt, apparently with Sofia behind it, is put to an end by Peter. Ascending the throne, the new Czar Peter I banishes his half-sister. Peter defeats a new revolt. The simple washerwoman Marta first becomes the Czar’s lover and later his wife. The Czar has church bells taken out to gain iron for cannons. Old Believers stand under the bells. A victim of an accident, Anastasia is killed by a falling bell. Makari, the leader of the Old Believers, rebels. Tichon tries to kill Peter. The Czar has Makari executed; Tikhon is released.