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Mikhail Glinka
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    (June 1, 1804-February 15, 1857)
    Born in Novospaskoye, Russia
    Wrote the operas 'A Life for the Tsar' (1836) and 'Ruslan and Lyudmila' (1842)
    Other works include 'Jota Argonesa' (1845) 'Kamarinskaya' (1848) and 'A Night in Madrid' (1851)
    He was a hypochondriac with a tendency to be taken in by quacks.
    His rich father pulled strings to get him a job in the foreign office, which he quit to study music in Italy.
    After his marriage broke up, he moved back in with his mother (and later, his sister).
    Although considered 'the father of Russian classical music,' he wrote most of his music while traveling in Western Europe.
    The premier of 'Ruslan and Lyudmila' was a disaster (the critics blasted it, audiences stayed away, and the Tsar walked out before the final curtain) and it was not restaged until 1870, more than a dozen years after Glinka's death.
    He spoke six languages: Russian, Polish, German, French, Spanish and Italian.
    He incorporated Russian folksongs into his compositions.
    He anticipated Wagner's use of leitmotif by using recurring themes for specific characters.
    After the premier of his first opera, the Tsar gave him a ring worth 4,000 rubles.
    He influenced later Russian composers, including Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.
    His 'The Patriotic Song' was adopted as the national anthem of Russia (1990-2000).

Credit: C. Fishel

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