THE TSAR’S BRIDE
A street in Aleksandrovsky settlement. Twilight. Parishioners are coming out of the monastery. Marfa and Dunyasha, accompanied by the Sobakins’ housekeeper Petrovna, are among them. Marfa’s thoughts are with her beloved groom, Ivan Lykov. The girls’ conversation is interrupted by the appearance of two horsemen. One of them stares at Marfa. It is Ivan the Terrible. Marfa doesn’t recognise the Tsar, wrapped in rich garments, but his intent gaze frightens her. Dusk is falling. The streets are empty. Lyubasha sneaks to the Sobakins’ house and looks through a window. She is struck by Marfa’s beauty. Lyubasha decides to kill her rival by replacing Bomeliy’s love potion with poison. She knocks on Bomeliy’s door. He will satisfy her request, but he demands Lyubasha’s love in return. Indignant, Lyubasha refuses. But Marfa’s carefree laughter torments her; with desperate resolve, she agrees to the shameful deal with Bomeliy, whom she hates.