Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka: biography, interesting facts, creativity

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka

If Russian science began with Mikhail Lomonosov, poetry began with Alexander Pushkin, then Russian music began with Mikhail Glinka. It was his work that became the starting point and an example for all subsequent Russian composers. Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka - for our national musical culture, this is not only an outstanding, but a very significant creative person, since, based on the traditions of folk art and relying on the achievements of European music, he completed the formation of the Russian school of composition. Glinka, who became the first Russian classical composer, left a small but impressive artistic legacy. In his beautiful works imbued with patriotism, the maestro sang the triumph of goodness and justice in such a way that they still do not cease to admire and discover in them all new perfection.

A brief biography of Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka and many interesting facts about the composer can be found on our page.

short biography

In the early morning of May 20, 1804, according to family legend, Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was born under the trills of the nightingale. His motherland became a small parental estate in the village of Novospasskoye in the Smolensk region. There he received his first musical impressions and elementary education - a Petersburg governess taught him how to play the piano, the violin and Italian songs. According to Glinka’s biography in 1817, young Misha enters the Moscow Noble guesthouse, where V. Kuchelbecker becomes his mentor. It was there that he met with A.S. Pushkin, often visiting his younger brother. They maintained good relations until the death of the poet. In St. Petersburg, Mikhail Ivanovich began to make music with even greater zeal. However, at the insistence of his father, after graduating from boarding school, he entered the civil service.

Since 1828, Glinka has devoted himself entirely to composing. In the years 1830-33, during a trip to Europe, he met his great contemporaries - Bellini, Donizetti and Mendelson, studies music theory in Berlin, greatly expanding his composer’s activities. In 1835, Glinka, in the Church of the Engineers' Castle, is crowned with young Maria Petrovna Ivanova. It was a fast-paced affair, the casual acquaintance of young people occurred only half a year earlier in the house of relatives. And the very next year the premiere of his debut opera "Life for the king", after which he was offered a position in the Imperial Court Chapel.

In his work began to accompany the success and recognition, but family life failed. Just a few years after his marriage, another woman appeared in his life - Ekaterina Kern. Ironically, the daughter of Pushkin's muse Anna Kern became the composer's muse. Glinka left his wife, and several years later began the divorce proceedings. Maria Glinka also did not feel cordial affection for her spouse and, while still married, secretly married with another. The divorce was delayed for several years, during which the relationship with Kern ended. More Mikhail Ivanovich did not marry, he also did not have children.


After the failure "Ruslana and Lyudmila"the musician moved away from Russian public life and began to travel a lot, living in Spain, France, Poland, Germany. In his rare visits to St. Petersburg - he taught vocals to opera singers. At sunset, he wrote autobiographical" Notes ". He died suddenly on February 15 1857 from pneumonia a few days after the Berlin performance of the passages “Life for the Tsar.” Three months later, through the efforts of his sister, his ashes were transported to St. Petersburg.

Interesting Facts

  • M.I. Glinka is considered to be the father of Russian opera. In part, this is so - it was he who became the ancestor of the national trend in world opera art, created the techniques of typically Russian opera singing. But to say that Life for the Tsar is the first Russian opera would be wrong. The history has kept some evidence about the life and work of court composer Catherine II V.A. Pashkevich, but known for his comic operas, marching on the capital's stages in the last third of the 18th century: "Misfortune from the coach", "The Miser" and others. Two operas were written by him on the libretto of the Empress herself. Three operas for the Russian court created D.S. Bortnyansky (1786-1787). E.I. At the end of the 18th century, Fomin wrote several operas, including the libretto of Catherine II and I.A. Krylov. Operas and operas were also released from the pen of the Moscow composer A.N. Verstovsky.
  • The opera of K. Kavos "Ivan Susanin" for 20 years went on in theaters on a par with "Life for the Tsar". After the revolution, Glinka's masterpiece was cast into oblivion, but in 1939, in the wake of pre-war moods, opera again entered the repertoires of the country's largest theaters. For ideological reasons, the libretto was radically reworked, and the work itself was given the name of the predecessor who had sunk into oblivion - "Ivan Susanin". In the original version, the opera again saw the scene only in 1989.
  • The role of Susanin was a turning point in the career of F.I. Shalyapin. At the age of 22, he performed Susanin's aria at an audition at the Mariinsky Theater. The very next day, February 1, 1895, the singer was enlisted in the troupe.
  • "Ruslan and Lyudmila" is an opera that broke the idea of ​​traditional vocal voices. Thus, the party of the young knight Ruslan was written not for the heroic tenor, as the Italian opera model would require, but for the bass or low baritone. The tenor parties are represented by the good wizard Finn and the narrator Bayan. Lyudmila is the part for the coloratura soprano, while Gorislava is the lyric. It is striking that the role of Prince Ratmir is female, his contralto sings. Witch Naina is a comic mezzo-soprano, and her protege Farlaf is a bass buffo. The heroic bass, which in the "Life for the Tsar" was given the role of Susanin, is sung by the father of Lyudmila, Prince Svetozar.

  • According to one version, the only reason for the negative criticism of “Ruslan and Lyudmila” was the demonstrative departure of Nicholas I from the premiere - the official publications had to justify this fact by certain flaws in the creative part of the opera. It is possible that the emperor's act is explained by too obvious allusions to real events leading to the duel of A.S. Pushkin, in particular, suspicions about the connection of his wife with Nikolai.
  • The party of Ivan Susanin marked the beginning of a series of great bass roles of the Russian operatic repertoire, including such powerful figures as Boris Godunov, Dosifei and Ivan Khovansky, Prince Galitsky and Khan Konchak, Ivan the Terrible and Prince Yury Vsevolodovich. These roles were performed by truly outstanding singers. O.A. Petrov - the first Susanin and Ruslana, and after thirty years - and Varlaam in Boris Godunov. The director of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theater heard his unique voice at a fair in Kursk. The next generation of bass was represented by F.I. Stravinsky, father of the famous composer, who served in the Mariinsky Theater. Then - F.I. Chaliapin, who began his career in the private opera of S. Mamontov and grew up in a world opera star. In Soviet times, M.O. Reisen, E.E. Nesterenko, A.F. Vedernikov, B.T. Shtokolov.
  • Mikhail Ivanovich himself had a beautiful voice, a high tenor, and performed his romances under the piano.
  • "Notes" M.I. Glinka became the first composer memoirs.

  • The composer, who looked impressive on monumental monuments, was in fact small in stature, which is why he walked, his head thrown back to appear taller.
  • During the life of Glinka suffered various ailments. In part, they were due to the grandmother’s upbringing in the early years, when he was fairly kutali and was not allowed to go outside for many months. Partly - the fact that parents were second cousins ​​to each other, and all the boys in the family had poor health. Descriptions of their own diseases and their treatment is given a considerable place in his "Notes".
  • The musician had 10 younger brothers and sisters, but only three survived him - the sisters Maria, Lyudmila and Olga.
  • Glinka admitted that he prefers the female society to the female one, because the ladies liked his musical talents. He was amorous and enthusiastic. His mother was even afraid to let him go to Spain, because of the hot morals of local jealous husbands.
  • For a long time it was customary to present the composer’s spouse as a near woman who did not understand music and loved only secular entertainment. Did this image of reality? Maria Petrovna was a woman of practical importance, which probably did not justify the romantic expectations of her husband. In addition, at the time of the wedding, she was only 17 years old (Glinka - 30), she had just entered the period of going out to society, balls and holidays. Should she be punished for being passionate about outfits and her beauty for more than creative searchlights of her husband?
  • Glinka's second love Catherine Kern was the exact opposite of his wife - an ugly, pale, but subtly sensitive, intellectual understanding of art. It was probably in her that the composer saw the features that he had tried in vain to find in Maria Petrovna.
  • Karl Bryullov painted quite a few caricatures of Glinka that hurt composer's pride.

  • From the biography of Glinka, we know that the composer was so attached to his mother Yevgenia Andreevna that during his life he wrote to her every week. After reading the news of her demise, his hand was taken away. He was neither at her funeral, nor at the grave, because he believed that without a mother the trips to Novospasskoye had lost all meaning.
  • The composer who created the opera about the struggle against the Polish invaders has Polish roots. His ancestors settled near Smolensk, when he belonged to the Commonwealth. After the return of the land under the authority of the Russian state, many Poles converted to Orthodoxy and swore allegiance to the king in order to stay living on their land.
  • Mikhail Ivanovich loved songbirds very much and kept about 20 at home, where the whole room was set aside for them.
  • Glinka wrote The Patriotic Song in the hope that it would become a new Russian anthem. It happened, but not in 1833, when they chose "God Save the Tsar!" A.F. Lvov, and in 1991. For 9 years, while the "Patriotic Song" was a national symbol, no words were written to it. For this reason as well, in 2000, the music of the USSR National Anthem, AB, became the anthem of Russia again. Alexandrova.
  • The premiere of "Ruslan and Lyudmila" directed by D. Chernyakov. The Bolshoi Theater opened after reconstruction in 2011.
  • The Mariinsky Theater is the only one in the world where both operas of the composer are in the current repertoire.


Mikhail Glinka is equally known for his operas and romances. It was with chamber music that his composing activity began. In 1825, he wrote the romance "Do not tempt." As rarely happens, one of his first creations turned out to be immortal. In the 1830s, instrumental compositions based on the operatic music by V. Bellini, Sonata for Viola and Piano, Grand Sextet for Piano and String Quintet, Pathetic Trio were created. In the same period, Glinka wrote his only symphony, which he never finished.

Traveling through Europe, Glinka became increasingly rooted in the thought that the work of the Russian composer should be based on the original folk culture. He began to look for a plot for the opera. The theme of the feat of Ivan Susanin was suggested to him by V.A. Zhukovsky, who was directly involved in the creation of the text of the work. The libretto was written by E.F. Rosen. The event structure was fully proposed by the composer, as the poems were composed on ready-made music. Melodically, the opera is built on the opposition of two themes — the Russian with its tap melody and the Polish with its rhythmic, loud mazurka and Krakovyak. The apotheosis was the chorus "Glory" - an unparalleled solemn episode. "Life for the king" It was presented at the Bolshoi Theater of St. Petersburg on November 27, 1836. It is noteworthy that the production was directed and conducted by K. Kavos, who, 20 years before, had created his own "Ivan Susanin" on the basis of folk art material. Public opinion was divided - some were shocked by a simple “peasant” theme, others found the music too academic and difficult to read. Emperor Nicholas I reacted to the premiere favorably and personally thanked its author. Moreover, earlier he himself had proposed the name of the opera, previously named “Death for the Tsar”.


During the life of A.S. Pushkin Glinka decided to move the poem to the music scene "Ruslan and Ludmila". However, this work began only in the mournful year of the death of the great poet. The composer had to involve several librettists. The writing took five years. The opera has completely different semantic accents - the plot has become more epic and philosophical, but somewhat devoid of irony and proprietary Pushkin humor. In the course of the action, the characters develop, have deep feelings. The premiere of "Ruslan and Lyudmila" was held in the Bolshoi Theater on November 27, 1842 - exactly 6 years after "Life for the Tsar". But at the date, the similarities of the two prime ministers are exhausted. The opera was ambiguous, including due to unsuccessful replacements in the artistic composition. The imperial surname pointedly left the hall right during the last action. This was a truly scandalous incident! The third performance put everything in its place, and the audience gave the new creation of Glinka a warm welcome. What the critic has not done. The composer was accused of friable dramaturgy, invalidity and prolonged opera. For these reasons, it almost immediately began to reduce and redo - often unsuccessfully.

Simultaneously with the work on "Ruslan and Lyudmila" Glinka wrote romances and vocal cycle "Farewell to Petersburg", "Waltz-fantasy". Two overseas Spanish overtures and "Kamarinskaya". In Paris, the first ever concert of Russian music, consisting of his works, was held in triumph. The last years the composer was full of ideas. In his fateful year to be in Berlin, he was motivated not only by the performance of "Life for the Tsar", but also by studying with the famous music theorist Z. Den. Despite his age and experience, he never ceased to learn, wanting to keep up with the trends of the time - he was in brilliant creative form G. Verdigaining strength R. Wagner. Russian music made itself known on European stages, and it was necessary to promote it further.

Unfortunately, Glinka’s plans were interrupted by fate. But thanks to his work, Russian music received a significant development, many generations of talented composers appeared in the country, the beginning of the Russian music school was laid.

Glinka's music in the cinema

M.I. Glinka is little known abroad, so his music is mainly used by domestic cinema. The most famous films:

  • The Russian Ark (dir. A. Sokurov, 2002);
  • "Orphan of Kazan" (dir. V. Mashkov, 1997);
  • "Big Change" (dir. A. Korenev, 1972).

On the biography of Glinka in the years 1940-50 two films were released. The first of them, "Glinka", was created in 1946 by director Lev Arnshtam, in the title role - Boris Chirkov. The image of the composer is lively and authentic, much attention is paid to his personality and private life. It is noteworthy that the second most important character in the picture is the serf man Ulyanych (in this role, VV Merkuryev), the prototype of which was Uncle Ilya, who accompanied Mikhail Ivanovich for many years. The 1952 film "The Composer Glinka", filmed by G. Alexandrov and Boris Smirnov in the title role, covers a narrower period in the life of the musician, dating back to the time of the creation of two of his operas. The picture did not escape the influence of time in depicting the events of pre-revolutionary history. One of his last roles, the composer’s sister, was played here by L. Orlova.

As is often the case with geniuses, the meaning Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka for Russian art it became apparent only after his death. The composer left a small in number, but impressive in scope, innovation and melody, musical heritage. His operas are infrequent guests of the stage, primarily because their staging requires large-scale and high-quality diverse voices that only the largest theaters can afford. At the same time, it is impossible to imagine a vocal evening of romances without his compositions. Streets and educational institutions are named after him, his memory is immortalized both at home and abroad. This suggests that Glinka received exactly the glory of which he dreamed — popular acclaim and love.

Watch the video: Mikhail Glinka - Symphony on Two Russian Themes in D minor (January 2020).


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