Tchaikovsky: The Little Shoes
The opera was composed between February and April 1885 at Maidanovo. Both Vakula the Smith and Cherevichki were set to Polonsky's libretto, which was originally intended for Alexander Serov but had remained unused on account of his death. Additions and revisions for this second version were made by the composer and Nikolay Chayev.
The main thematic material of the second version of the opera is the same as in Vakula the Smith. The alterations were caused by a wish to help the opera "out of the river of oblivion" (letter by Tchaikovsky of 4 March 1885). The editing primarily simplified some elements of musical texture. The lyric sphere of the opera was deepened by the introduction of a new aria inserted for Vakula: Slyshit li devitsa serdtse tvoe... (Who knows, my girl, if your heart can feel my pain...). But the addition of the song of the School Teacher and the verses of His Highness enrich the genre part of the opera. Tchaikovsky also changed the cast of the chorus scenes, as in No. 13 (Kolyadka).