A Life for the Tsar

A Life For The Tsar

A Life for the Tsar

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Description:
A Life for the Tsar (, Zhizn' za tsarya), as it is known in English, although its original name was Ivan Susanin () is a "patriotic-heroic tragic opera" in four acts with an epilogue by Mikhail Glinka. The original Russian libretto, based on historical events, was written by Nestor Kukolnik, Georgy Fyodorovich Rozen, Vladimir Sollogub and Vasily Zhukovsky. It premiered on 29 November 1836 at the Bolshoi Theatre in St. Petersburg. The historical basis of the plot involves Ivan Susanin, a patriotic hero of the early 17th century who gave his life in the expulsion of the invading Polish army for the newly elected Tsar Mikhail, the first of the Romanov dynasty, elected in 1613.

History

Composition history

The plot of A Life for the Tsar had been used earlier in 1815, when Catterino Cavos, an Italian-Russian composer, had written a two-act singspiel with the same subject and title. The original title of the opera was to be Ivan Susanin, after the hero, but when Nicholas I attended a rehearsal, Glinka changed the title to A Life for the Tsar as an ingratiating gesture. This title was retained in the Russian Empire until the October Revolution, when it reverted to Ivan Susanin.

Glinka and the writers with whom he was associated chose, in Susanin, a hero of Russian nationalism well suited to the mood of the time. The opera was immediately hailed as a great...
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