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Russian operas that conquered the world

Domestic history, literature and music in a single piece.

Stage unity of music, voice, drama plot. For the first time, opera came to Russia in the 18th century with Italian performers. The founder of the first Russian theater Fyodor Volkov became the author of the first Russian opera with a folk plot. A century later, the Russian opera conquered the entire musical world.

“Life for the Tsar”, or “Ivan Susanin”, by Mikhail Glinka
The Bolshoi Theatre
1992107 MIN
For the first time about the events of 1612, the Polish campaign against Moscow, they sang 180 years ago from the stage of the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theater. The first version of the libretto is Baron von Rosen. After the revolution, Sergei Gorodetsky adapted the plot to Soviet reality. In one version of the Kostroma peasant became a Komsomol and chairman of the village council. Since 1945, the opera “Ivan Susanin” opens the season in the Bolshoi Theater. In 1993, the performance was presented at a historic site where these events took place 400 years ago – in the Ipatiev Monastery of Kostroma. The performance was broadcast in 15 countries of the world.

“Boris Godunov” Modest Mussorgsky
The Bolshoi Theatre
1978202 MIN
The opera is based on the plot of the same tragedy of Pushkin. The composer himself wrote the libretto for five years, using historical materials from Karamzin. But the path to the scene was no less long. The Directorate of the Imperial Theaters at first was not satisfied with the absence of a bright female image, then embarrassed the democratic notes. The premiere took place at the Mariinsky Theater in 1873. But ten years later, by decree of censorship, the performance was removed from the scene. Revived opera Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1908, “Boris Godunov” with the main part performed by Fyodor Shalyapin conquered Paris. These were Russian seasons.

“Prince Igor” Alexander Borodin
The Bolshoi Theatre
1992137 MIN
Scenic incarnation of “The Word of Igor’s Regiment”. The composer worked on the opera for 18 years, but he never finished his work. Alexander Glazunov and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov wrote the work according to draft notes. Both composers insisted on the authorship of Alexander Borodin. In 1890, the premiere took place at the Mariinsky Theater. The opera received rave reviews. “Prince Igor” is a patriotic opera in the best sense of the word, close to the heart of every Russian, ”was written in the reviews. Nine years later, the European premiere took place in Prague, and in 1914, Prince Igor saw Paris in the design of Nicholas Roerich.

“Stone Guest” by Alexander Dargomyzhsky
The Bolshoi Theatre
197984 MIN
Another opera, completed after the death of the author. According to the will of the composer, Caesar Cui and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov completed the musical embodiment of Pushkin’s don Juan. Opera exactly follows the text of the poet, the composers have not changed a word. The piece turned out to be innovative at that time: instead of arias and ensembles, there were “melodic recitatives” and recitations to music. “Characters Speak Notes” – except for two songs. For the first time, “The Stone Guest” was presented to the Petersburg audience at the Mariinsky Theater in 1872. The world premiere took place half a century later in Salzburg.

The Golden Cockerel by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
The Bolshoi Theatre
1988129 MIN
Pushkin’s lines are again the basis of an opera. “Fiction in Faces” was the last work of the composer – completed in 1908. Rimsky-Korsakov and the author of the libretto Belsky were based on Russian folklore with his burbled songs and dances. The work came out satirical. Rimsky-Korsakov wrote to his disciple Maximilian Steinberg: “I want to shame King Dodon completely.” Censorship did not allow the formulation in the author’s version on the stage of state theaters. The premiere took place in 1909 at the Sergey Zimin Opera House in Moscow, a year later – on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater, and then all over the world: from London to New York.

“Khovanshchina” Modest Mussorgsky
Mariinsky Theater (Main Stage)
1992182 MIN
The struggle of old and new Russia. The drama of life on stage. The composer himself took up the libretto, studying historical sources of the seventeenth century – the period of the absolute power of Prince Ivan Khovansky. Mussorgsky wanted to show the transfer of power from the princess Sophia to the young Peter and the palace intrigues raging around. During the life of the composer, the opera was not performed. Rimsky-Korsakov was preparing for the production of “Khovanshchina”, and the first performance was played by the forces of the Musical and Dramatic Circle of Amateurs in 1886. Only a quarter of a century later, the triumphal procession of the opera from the Mariinsky Theater to all the major theaters of the world began.

“War and Peace” by Sergei Prokofiev
Mariinsky Theater (Main Stage)
DRAMA1978147 MIN
13 musical pictures from the four-volume book of Leo Tolstoy. The opera version of the epic novel was created for 12 years. The composer conceived a patriotic opera in 1941. Sergei Prokofiev and Mira Mendelssohn-Prokofiev in the libretto sought to show the beauty and spiritual wealth of the characters. But with the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the patriotic theme came to the fore.

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