Goldsmiths - University of London

'Decentralising via Russia: Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar in Nice, 1890'

Alexander, Tamsin. 2015. 'Decentralising via Russia: Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar in Nice, 1890'. Cambridge Opera Journal, 27(01), pp. 35-62. ISSN 0954-5867 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

On 30 January 1890, the audience at the Théâtre Municipal in Nice witnessed something extraordinary. Midway through the first public performance of a Russian opera in France, Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, the chorus and orchestra broke into a rendition of the Russian national anthem, followed by the ‘Marseillaise’. Both anthems were then repeated, with the audience calling out ‘Vive la Russie!’, ‘Vive la France!’ With France and Russia on the verge of an historic alliance, the evening was proclaimed a political and an artistic triumph. The success of this unusual event, I suggest, can be explained further by considering the context of operatic decentralisation in France, in conjunction with the arrival of the new director at the Théâtre, Raoul Gunsbourg. As a result of local and personal imperatives, the performance came to resonate nationally, with A Life serving as an unlikely emblem of modernity, while also bringing one peripheral French region strongly into Paris’s purview.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Centre for Russian Music


1 April 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2015 21:27

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 15:48

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/15969

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