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Besides there was already formed a certain opera tradition of the 18th c. In the early 19th century court and private theatres gave place to the monopoly of the state theatres, centred in Moscow and St.-Petersburg.Both the capitals of Russia enjoyed rich cultural life, with Russian ballet blossoming.Opera was at the summit of aspirations with the Russian composers of the 19th century.Even those of them who never completed a single opera (for example, M. Lyadov) had thought for years over some opera projects. First of all, opera was the genre that gave a chance to 'speak the language of the masses', according to Tchaikovsky.In Life for the Tzar Glinka overcame the mixture of styles characteristic of the Russian opera before him, when genre scenes were 'Russian styled', lyric arias were in the 'Italian way' and drama parts were 'French' or 'German'. The opera recreates the old Russian spirit, as well as authentic Orient in its various aspects, both 'sweet' and 'redoubtable' and original fantasy, putting Glinka in a row with his most outstanding contemporaries - Berlioz and Wagner.Lots of Russian musicians of the next generations gave their due to this heroic opera, yet preferring Glinka's second opera Rouslan and Lyudmila, which came to underlie a separate trend followed by Rimsky-Korsakov and A. Glinka composed around 80 romances, songs, arias and other music pieces.Glinka was one of the first Russian authors to solve the issue of scenic musical speech.
He holds a prominent place in history as the founder of Russian classical music and national opera.Glinka's novel approach met misunderstanding and hostile attitude of the high society.Among rapturous admirers of this opera was Alexander Pushkin, whose fairy poem Ruslan and Ludmila inspired Glinka for creation of his second opera of the same name.In spite of the music before Glinka the phenomenon of his genius still seems a miracle.The basic features of his gift combine deep intellectualism and subtle artistry.
Operas came to be staged also in serf theatres of rich Russian landlords. Interesting were experiments in the genres of melodrama and music for drama plays.