The Sheremetev Serf Theater (1775-1797), managed mainly by Count Nikolai Petrovich Sheremetev (1751-1809), was the only Russian theater that imported and performed the French operatic genre tragédie lyrique. This genre was never staged in any other Russian theater (not even the court theater). This paper aims to present how Renaud by A. Sacchini was performed at the Sheremetev Theater between 1788 and 1792, focusing on the Russian translation of the French text, which was a characteristic feature of performances held at this theater.
The entire text of Renaud was translated into Russian with significant difficulties. It was inferred that Nikolai aimed to introduce the performance of serious opera in Russian by staging Renaud. In fact, he produced and performed the Russian opera Zelmira and Smelon, or the Capture of Izmail in 1795. The performance of tragédie lyrique Renaud revealed the Sheremetev Serf Theater as an "opera theater" capable of creative performances of full-scale opera. In addition, the circumstances suggest that serf theaters in the late 18th century played an important role in that they cultivated a rich operatic culture in Russia.