Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8857
Role of the folk songs in the Russian opera of the 18th century
The last decades of the 18th century were a momentous period in Russian history; they marked an ever-increasing awareness of the horrors of serfdom and the fate of peasantry. Because of the exposure of brutal treatment of the serfs, the public was
agitating for big reforms. In the 18th century these historical circumstances and the political environment affected the artists. The folk song became widely reflected in
Russian professional music of the century, especially in its most important genre, the opera.
The Russian opera showed strong links with Russian folklore from its very first appearance. This factor differentiates it from all other genres of the 18th century, which were very much under the influence of classicism (painting, literature,
architecture). About one hundred operas were created in the last decades of the 18th century, but only thirty remained; of which fifteen make use of Russian and Ukrainian folk music. Gathering of folk songs and the first attempts to affix them to paper were made in this period.
In course of only twenty years, from its beginning until the turn of the century, Russian opera underwent a great change: it became into a fully-fledged genre. Russian opera is an important part of the world’s theatre music treasures, and the
music of the 18th century was the foundation of the mighty achievements of the second half of the 19th century, embodied in the works of Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Rimsky-Korsakov.