Russia Theatre Opera Ruslan and Lyudmila

Ruslan and Lyudmila

Mikhail Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila was staged at the Mariinsky Theatre and Bolshoi Theatre in sets designed by Konstantin Korovin and Alexander Golovin. In 1913, Ivan Bilibin designed the sets and costumes for a production on the wide new stage of the Tsar Nicholas II Narodny Dom Theatre (now the Music Hall) in St Petersburg in 1914. A Russian theatrical reviewer wrote of the stage decorations: “Chernomor’s castle is a delight; full reign has been given to the artist’s rich fantasy. The combination of colours and blindingly soft tones create an unusually harmonic impression, transporting the enraptured viewers to a truly fairytale kingdom.” A comparison of Ivan Bilibin’s sets with those of Alexander Golovin (or even earlier ones by Sergei Malyutin) reveals just how strongly Bilibin’s experience as a book illustrator was reflected in his theatrical designs, which closely followed of the text of Alexander Pushkin’s poem.

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