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From 1817 Dargomïzhsky lived in St. Petersburg. He studied piano with Schoberlechner and Danilevsky, and violin with Vorontsov. He has been described as a brillian pianist from his early 20s. Between 1827 and 1842 he served as a government official, but later devoted himself entirely to music. He visited Germany, Brussels, and Paris in 1845. In 1847, his opera "Esmerelda" met with considerable success in Moscow. Generally thought to be his finest work, his opera "Rusalka" was produced in St. Petersburg in 1856. His orchestral works (e.g., Finnish Fantasia, Cossack Dance, Baba-Yaga, etc.) were also quite popular. He was elected President of the Russian Music Society in 1867. His works include over 100 minor pieces, including a great many songs which date from as early as the 1830s, but his later songs in the romance genre are more imaginative and more harmonically adventurous than his earlier efforts.