The Late Romantic period saw the blossoming of self-expression in music. This was especially evident in the music of Tchaikovsky, which reflected the inner turmoil and anguish of his life. Many composers felt that by the time Wagner died, Romanticism had reached its limits of expression. Toward the end of the Late Romantic period, many new and diverse musical styles began to emerge - notably, the nationalism of composers such as Sibelius and Elgar, the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, and the atonal modernism of Schönberg.
Grand opera was perhaps the greatest legacy of the Late Romantic period. In terms of content, there was a world of difference between the deep, psychological subtexts of Wagner's epic operas, Verdi's dramas of human passion, and Puccini's realistic portrayals of everyday life. But there was one element common to nearly all grand opera, namely a dramatic unfolding of events usually ending in tragedy. Wagner's musical drama Tristan and Isolde is arguably the clearest expression of Late Romantic grand opera.