Libretto: Mikhail Glinka, Konstantin Bakhturin, Alexander Shakhovskoi, Valerian Shirkov, Mikhail Gedeonov, Nestor Kukol’nik and Nikolay Markevich, after the poem by Alexander Pushkin
Decorations are restored from the 1904 version of the performance by Alexander Golovin and Konstantin Korovin
Set Design: Thierry Bosquet (Belgium)
Ruslan and Lyudmila (Russian: Ruslan i Ljudmila) is an opera in five acts (eight tableaux) composed by Mikhail Glinka between 1837 and 1842. The opera is based on the 1820 poem of the same name by Aleksandr Pushkin.
"At one of Zhukovsky’s soirees when speaking of his poem Ruslan and Lyudmila, Pushkin said that there was much he would like to change; I wanted him to tell me exactly what changes he would make, though his untimely death robbed me of the opportunity to do so," Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka recorded in his Notes. The composer began work on the opera in 1837, the libretto not yet being complete and the poet’s tragic death forcing him to turn to amateur poets from among his friends and acquaintances. Unlike the literary source material which was written with the irony and light humour of a young rake (Pushkin began the work when still a lyceum pupil and planned to rewrite it several times as a result), the opera is epic in character, monumental images of bylina Old Russian bogatyrs blended together with the fairytale oriental flavour of Chernomor’s kingdom, the abundance of crowd scenes setting off the protagonists’ famous arias which have become jewels in the treasure casket of Russian music, as has done the brilliant overture.