On December 10, 1895, The Night Before Christmas, one of a total of fifteen operas by Nikolai A. Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), was premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. The Russian composer himself wrote the libretto based on Nikolai V. Gogol's story of the same name. Out of consideration for Peter I. Tchaikovsky, who had already adapted the material in 1874 in The Blacksmith Vakula, Rimsky-Korsakov did not take on the setting until 1894, after the death of his colleague. In The Night Before Christmas, the satirical-realistic depiction of Ukrainian village life is combined with fantastic and mythological elements. The musical center is formed by the villagers' Christmas songs, based on Ukrainian folk songs. These are framed by lyrical ariosi, buffo scenes and pictorial orchestral interludes.