Considered by Tchaikovsky to be his best opera. The story is based on a story by Gogol describing the 'fantastical and comical' antics of the Devil on Christmas Eve. The heroine, Oxana, tells her lover, Vacula, that she will marry him if he can obtain a pair of the Tsarina's slippers. He does, with the help of the devil, and she marries him. The opera contains a ball at St. Petersburg with ballet and Cossack dancers; and the costume designs use authentic Ukrainian folk styles.