Stephana – Ambur Braid
Vassili – Alexander Mikhailov
Principe Alexis – Omer Kobiljak
Glèby – Scott Hendricks
Nikona – Fredrika Brillembourg
La fanciulla / The old Woman – Clarry Bartha
Ivan / The Cossack – Manuel Günther
Director – Vasily Barkhatov
Conductor – Valentin Uryupin
Set designer – Christian Schmidt
Costume Designer – Nicole von Graevenitz
Lighting Designer – Aleksander Sivaev
Place: Russia Time: First half of the 19th century
Act 1: “The Woman”
Saint Petersburg, August, during the Festival of Saint Alexander
Stephana is the mistress of Prince Alexis, living in an elegant palace, who was once seduced by Gleby, a scoundrel, who sold her to the Prince and has been living off a pension granted to him by the Prince. Stephana loves Vassili, a lieutenant who corresponds with her but assumes she is a simple working girl, because they always meet in disguise outside her house. When summoned to war he goes to meet Stephana and learns the truth about her, but he is still smitten with her. The Prince enters and demands an explanation which develops into a duel during which Vassili kills the Prince with his sword; he is detained and sent to the police.
Act 2: “The Lover”
The frontier between Russia and Siberia in winter
Several prisoners are making their way through the snow on foot to the mines where they are forced to work. Amongst them is Vassili worn almost out, he is despairing, a group of women and children are waiting along the road to bid farewell to the prisoners. Stephana arrives in a sleigh, she has left all to join her beloved in whatever fate awaits him, she does not listen to his pleas to return, when ordered to, they both march into the vastness of Siberia.
Act 3: “The Heroine”
A hut of convicts in the mines of Trans-Baikal on the eve of Russian Easter
Due to the upcoming festivities, the prisoners are allowed to organize a feast. Stephana, excited by this, devises a scheme with an old convict to escape with Vassili, but Gleby has arrived to the prison camp after finally being arrested in one of his many crimes. He recognizes Stephana and insults her in front of everybody, including Vassili, who tries to defend her but is stopped by the other inmates. The church bell rings and prayers start. During the night Vassili and Stephana execute their plan to escape, but Gleby gives the alarm, the troops pursue the prisoners and a shot is heard, they bring Vassili back and carry Stephana, who was wounded, she bids farewell to Vassili and dies.