The young composer Mikhail Glinka performs his new work at a soiree at earl Vielgorsky's house. However, the public is accustomed to Western music, and reacts coldly to the creation of the composer. This makes him very sad, but soon he decides to go learn the art of music in Italy. After returning from Italy, he is full of desire to write national Russian opera. Vasily Zhukovsky proposes a subject: a feat of Ivan Susanin. Tsar Nicholas I change the name of the opera to A Life for the Tsar and assigns a librettist - Baron Rosen. Acquaintance with the future co-author shocked Glinka: Rosen speaks Russian with a noticeable German accent. The premiere was successful, but Glinka was still not entirely happy with the libretto: "False words were written by Rosen". When Nicholas I learned that Ruslan and Lyudmila was written on Pushkin's subject, he sees it as sedition. The bitter experience of the composer brighten his supporters.