At present this is the only composer's museum in St.Petersburg. It occupies a wing of the house #28 on Zagorodny Prospekt, where Rimsky-Korsakov had spent the last fifteen years of his life, from 1893 to 1908. It was here that he composed eleven of his fifteen operas, among them Sadko, The Fairy-Tale of Tzar Sultan, The Tzar's Bride, Kashchey, the Immortal, The Golden Rooster.
After the composer's and his wife's death, for fifty years the apartment was shared by several families. Nevertheless, all private belongings, as well as the furniture, have been carefully preserved by the composer's heirs. On December 27, 1971 in the renovated apartment there museum opened, due to the efforts of the composer's descendants. As far as the authenticity of the interiors is concerned, the museum may be duly placed among the best composer's museums in Russia, such as Chaikovsky's House in Klin or the Skryabin Museum in Moscow.
The memorial part of the apartment is made up of four rooms: Rimsky-Korsakov's study, the living room, the dining room and the hall. The rest of the apartment has been reconstructed: here there is an exhibition hall where lots of materials about the composer's life and work are displayed, and a concert hall.
In the study there is his desk, his favourite armchair, an old writing desk made by Tikhvin cabinet-makers, a memorial address designed by Vrubel towards the thirty-fifth anniversary of the composer's work. The main attraction of the living room is a Becker grand piano, which was played by S.Rakhmaninov, A.Skryabin. A.Glazunov, I.Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov himself. The walls of the dining room are hung with painted portraits of the composer's ancestors. He belonged to an old Russian family, renowned since late fourteenth century. On the dining table there is family silver and such memorial pieces as a silver saltcellar and biscuit-dish.
The Museum restores not only the outward appearance of the apartment, but also its creative atmosphere. For many years it has been one of the cultural centres of St.Petersburg. Rimsky-Korsakov's guests, the composers Glazunov and Lyadov, Rakhmaninov and Taneyev, the painters Serov and Repin, the singers Chaliapin and Zabela-Vrubel were enthusiastic participants of the musical soirees, which got to be known as "Korsakov's Wednesdays". When Chaliapin was among the guests, about a hundred people would gather in the living-room, and the neighbours' children (who lived upstairs) would lie down on the floor to hear the famous singer. After the concerts the guests would move to the dining-room for tea, and very often would not leave until early morning.
The musical life of the museum is as diverse today as it used to be then. Following the tradition, on Wednesdays "Musical Evenings in the Zagorodny House" take place here, involving musicians from the city opera houses and symphony orchestras. There are also season Saturday evening concerts for children, as well as series of concerts given by young musicians "The Musical Youth of St.Petersburg".
Thrice a year - for the opening and closing of the season and on March 18th (the composer's birthday) concerts are conducted in the memorial living-room.