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Russian History & Culture

A guide to researching Russian history, culture, language, and politics.

Russian ballet and music

As with Russian literature, many of the most recognizable works of Russian music appeared in the second half of the 19th century. Such composers as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Modest Mussorgsky, Aleksandr Borodin, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov were active during this period. Tchaikovsky remains well-known both for his orchestral compositions, such as the 1812 Overture, and his ballets, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Russia has had an especially strong ballet tradition since the early 19th century. The two greatest ballet companies in Russia are the Bolshoi Theater (Moscow) and the Mariinsky Theater (St. Petersburg), both of which have their origins in the tsarist period.

The two most prominent Soviet composers were Sergey Prokofiev and Dmitry Shostakovich. Among Prokofiev's many works were scores to the Sergey Eisenstein films Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible.

("Russia," Encyclopedia Britannica)