The rousing finale of Mikhail Glinka's patriotic A Life for the Tsar (1836) guaranteed it a place as the traditional season opener in Russian opera houses. A Life was a powerful and attractive presentation of the Romanov dynasty's foundation myth, but it is also considered the first true Russian opera, since its predecessors relied heavily on foreign models. A century later, with a modified libretto and a new title, it was given a new lease on life as an equally patriotic Soviet opera, Ivan Susanin (1939).
Marina Frolova-Walker is Gresham Professor of Music. She is a Russian-born British musicologist and music historian. She is Professor of Music History and Director of Studies in Music at Clare College, Cambridge.
Professor Marina Frolova-Walker is a specialist in the Russian music of the 19th and 20th centuries. She has published extensively on Russian music and is a well-known lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. Among her many awards and appointments, she is a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded the Edward Dent Medal in 2015 by the Royal Musical Association for her achievements in musicology. She was a Visiting Professor of Russian Music at Gresham in 2018-19.
Professor Marina Frolova-Walker said:
“I am honoured and excited to take up the position of 36th Gresham Professor of Music, and I am delighted to have such eminent predecessors as John Bull and Iannis Xenakis. Bringing knowledge about music to a broader public has always been one of my passions, and the work of several recent Professors of Music such as David Owen Norris and Roger Parker has been an inspiration for my own activities as a public lecturer.
“My first lecture series features the artistic project of the Ballet Russes, brainchild of the great impresario Serge Diaghilev. Prior to Diaghilev, no one thought that ballet could be transformed into a provocatively modern art, a platform for cutting-edge experiments in music, choreography and design. The project had its roots in Diaghilev’s inspired marketing of “Russianness” in the Parisian arts world, and he continued to develop his ideas until his circle had become an international hotbed of artistic innovation. “Surprise me!”, Diaghilev would say to anyone with a new proposal, and he did indeed bring about a stream of artworks that still surprise and delight us today.”