Ruslan & Ludmilla

Orchestre d'Harmonie

Ruslan & Ludmilla

Overture to the Opera

Classique, Ouverture, Opera
Maison d'édition:
Partition + Parties
Numéro d'édition:
Date de publication:


After the extraordinary success of his Opera “A Life for the Tsar” (or “Ivan Susanin”) in 1836, Mikhail I. Glinka (1804-1857) immediately considered composing a second opera. Pushkin’s early poetic fairy-tale “Ruslan and Lyudmilla” was to become the subject, and Glinka hoped the poet might prepare the libretto for him. However, this hope failed, as Pushkin died in a duel early in 1837. The ensuing preparations for the opera lasted five long years. When the opera was finally premiered in 1842 in St. Petersburg, it was only coolly received. Although the opera has many weak points, some scenes are magnificent, and the quality, imaginative power, and sheer originality of some of the music is very remarkable. However, its influence on the development of national Russian music is of much greater importance. It therefore belongs to the very few works, which occupy a key position in a nation’s musical history.
The fairy-tale story begins and ends in Kiev. The major protagonists are Lyudmilla, daughter of the Grand Prince of Kiev and Ruslan, her fiancé, the wicked dwarf Chernomor who abducted Lyudmilla, the good magician Finn, and the wily enchantress Naina.
The overture was the last part of the music to be written, and Glinka stated that he “wrote it straight out for orchestra”. The composer drew the material for the overture from the main body of the opera with its main dramatic function being to presage the conflict between Ruslan and Chernomor.

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