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E. Smagina

Russian opera of the first half of the 19th сentury in the context of artistic flames of the time

This article is devoted to the under-examined heritage of Russian opera of the first half of the 19th century, the formation of which took place in a favorable historical and cultural context. The author points out the multitude of operas, the influence of classical and aclassical tendencies on their genre and style, as well as the numerosity of composers, among which, along with the well-known ones, there are also names that are forgotten today. Therefore, the academic apparatus of the article includes publications devoted to the operatic works of D. Shelekhov, D. Struisky, А. Sapienza Jr., F. Scholz, which are practically unknown in nowadays musicology. The process development of Russian opera is analyzed considering the specificities of the cultural life of the Alexander’s and Nicholas’s reign time. The author identifies the phenomenon of ″passion for music and theater″, which reflects the central vector of artistic interests of society: from aristocracy to the most democratic classes. In this regard, the article presents the illustrative judgments of V. G. Belinsky and N. V. Gogol. One of the major factors that favored the development of opera is the role of the theater policy of Alexander I and Nicholas I, who saw the theater as an effective tool for managing public consciousness. The importance of the theater reforms of the imperial court, the strengthening of the material base of the Russian theater system, the stability of funding and rich repertoire of the imperial theaters are emphasized. The influence of Russian salon culture traditions and of the phenomenon of social self-organization on the opera can be seen in the collective nature of the creation of a number of Russian operas of the first half of the 19th century: the libretto of ″Life for the Tsar″, ″Ruslan and Lyudmila″ by M. I. Glinka; “Vadim” by A. N. Verstovsky, ″The Gypsy″ by M. Yu. Vielgorsky.

Key words

″passion for music and theater″, M. Glinka, composers of the ″second row″, imperial theaters, salon.

For citation

Smagina E. Russian opera of the fisrt half of the 19th сentury in the context of artistic life of the time // South-Russian musical anthology. 2021. No. 1. Pp. 5–10.