Moscow, The Imperial Bolshoi Theatre
Moscow, The Imperial Bolshoi Theatre
The Imperial Bolshoi Theatre
Name’s existence
The Bolshoi Theatre, which is considered to be a world-famous cultural institution and one of the most well-known landmarks in Russia, began its history in 1870 as Petrovsky Theatre, organized by Prince Peter Urusov and English tightrope walker Michael Maddox. Later on, the Directorate of the Imperial Theaters was founded, and the Bolshoi Theatre was given over to its control. The theatre troupe included various artists — from Russian serf actors to guest stars from abroad. At first, opera, ballet, and drama performances were staged there, but in time opera and ballet began to prevail in the theatre's repertoire. In 1805, the Petrovsky Theatre building was destroyed by fire and had to be built anew in another location. It opened its doors to the public in 1825. The architect Joseph Bové designed the new building, based on the previous project by the Academy of Arts Professor Andrey Mikhailov. Because of the size, the rebuilt theater received the name Bolshoi ("Big"). The architect also projected the building of the nearby Maly ("Small") Theatre and the whole Theatre Square, giving it the look we see today. In 1853 the theatre was overtaken by fire again. During the reconstruction process, supervised by the chief architect of the Imperial Theaters Albert Cavos, many significant modifications were done, including increasing the height of the building, expansion of the theater hall space, and replacing the alabaster sculptural group of Apollo's troika-led chariot on the facade by a quadriga cast in bronze. The Bolshoi Theatre reopened again on 20 October 1856, on Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day, with the opera "I Puritani" by Vincenzo Bellini. During the Soviet period, the theatre was in danger of being closed, but the Bolshevik Party eventually decided that it should continue its work. In 1955, the artist Fyodor Fedorovsky created the famous gold curtain, which was used as the main theatre curtain for fifty years. The Bolshoi Theatre is known for its many grand opera performances, such as Mikhail Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar" (1842) and "Ruslan and Lyudmila" (1846), Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "The Voyevoda" (1869), Modest Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" (1888), Sergey Rachmaninoff's "Aleko" (1893), Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Maid of Pskov" (1901, with Feodor Chaliapin singing the role of Ivan the Terrible), Dmitri Shostakovich's "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" (1935). Some of the most renowned ballet performances are Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" (1877) and "The Nutcracker" (1919), Adolphe Adam's "Giselle" (1944), Rodion Shchedrin's "Carmen Suite" (1967). Leonid Sobinov, Feodor Chaliapin, Antonina Nezhdanova, Sergei Lemeshev, Ksenia Dzerzhinskaya, Galina Vishnevskaya, Maria Maksakova, Vladimir Matorin and many other notable opera singers have performed at the Bolshoi Theatre's scene. The ballet troupe at different times of its history included such outstanding artists as Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Olga Lepeshinskaya, Maris, Andris, and Ilze Liepa, Nikolay Tsiskaridze, Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Alexandrova. These and other artists have made a huge contribution to the world history of performing arts, which allowed the Bolshoi Theatre to become one of the main cultural symbols of Russia.