Mikhail GlinkaBased on Alexander Pushkin’s mock-epic work of the same title, Ruslan and Ludmila’s initial flop caused Glinka to stay away from Russia for nearly three years. The opera did not suit the taste of its time. For one, the music did not sound “Russian,” with melodies adapted from multiple sources—Russian, Persian, Finnish, Turkish, Caucasian, etc. And, unlike Glinka’s first opera, A Life for the Tsar, it is a fairytale. Ludmila, a princess bride, is whisked away by a wicked sorcerer; Ruslan, the valiant groom, ventures everywhere before winning her back. Yet in 1871, 14 years after Glinka’s death, the opera triumphantly returned in Moscow and has since been part of the Russian operatic canon.