For no particular reason other than the fact that I'd not listened to it for ages, earlier today I played the Jarvi recording of Rachmaninov's Aleko. It's certainly a slightly uneven work, but astonishing for a graduation piece. There is some really arresting music in it, both vocal and orchestral (of which there is a considerable amount considering it's a one-acter). I certainly couldn't immediately think of a similarly accomplished student work in the operatic field. Admittedly I didn't think very hard, but can anyone think of any?