Rachmaninoff’s works are known all over the world—his piano concertos (at least two of them), his symphonies (at least one or two of them), many piano pieces, several songs. But his operas are barely known at all. There are three of them. Call them Rach operas, if you like.

The first to be composed was Aleko, which many of us know for one reason, only: Chaliapin recorded an aria—Aleko’s Cavatina—from that work. The opera is a one-acter, based on a narrative poem of Pushkin, The Gypsies. Rachmaninoff’s second opera is The Miserly Knight, also based on Pushkin. The third is Francesca da Rimini, taken from Dante, of course. It is not to be confused with the opera by Zandonai, nor is it to be confused with the tone poem by Tchaikovsky. Speaking of...