2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
Along with the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Historical Museum, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Moscow Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theater is an object of cultural heritage and one of the outstanding sights of the city of Moscow. The history of the creation of the Bolshoi Theater saw both light and dark periods, periods of prosperity and decline. Since its foundation in 1776, the theater has undergone numerous restorations: the fires were merciless to the house of art.
Beginning of formation. Maddox Theater
The starting point in the history of the theater is considered to be 1776, when Empress Catherine II allowed Prince P. V. Urusov to engage in the maintenance and development of theatrical performances. A small theater was built on Petrovka Street, named after Petrovsky Street. However, it was destroyed by fire before its official opening.
P. V. Urusov transfers the ownership of the theater to his friend, an entrepreneur from England - Michael Maddox. Six months of construction under the leadership of the architect of the Bolshoi Theater Christian Rozberg and 130 thousand silver rubles made it possible to create a theater by 1780with a capacity of one thousand people. Between 1780 and 1794 more than 400 performances were staged. In 1805, the Maddox Theater burned down, and the acting troupe until 1808 was forced to give performances in private theaters. From 1808 to 1812, the wooden theater, designed by C. I. Rossi, was located on Arbat Square. It burned down during World War II, in a Moscow fire.
The period from 1812 to 1853
After the fire of 1812, the Moscow authorities returned to the issue of restoring the theater only in 1816. The most prominent architects of that time took part in the organized competition, among which A. A. Mikhailov became the winner. However, his project turned out to be quite expensive, so the case was entrusted to O. I. Bove, a specialist who was a member of the Commission on the structure of Moscow. The architect of the Bolshoi Theater Beauvais took Mikhailov's plan as a basis, slightly modifying it. The estimated height of the theater has been reduced by 4 meters to 37 meters, and the interior decoration has also been revised.
The project was approved by the authorities in 1821, and 4 years later, the work “The Creativity of the Muses” was solemnly presented on the stage of the theater, which tells about the revival of the Bolshoi Theater from the ashes. In the period from 1825 to 1853, the posters of the Bolshoi Theater invited connoisseurs of high art to comedy plays - vaudeville ("The Village Philosopher", "The Fun of the Caliph"). Opera was especially popular at that time: the works of A. N. Verstovsky ("Pan Tvardovsky", "Askold's Grave"), M. I. Glinka (the famous operas "Life for the Tsar","Ruslan and Ludmila"), as well as works by Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini. In 1853, the theater was again engulfed in flames and almost completely burned out.
Reconstructions of the second half of the 20th century
The building of the Bolshoi Theater after the fire of 1853 was badly damaged. The competition for its reconstruction was won by Albert Katerinovich Kavos, an outstanding architect, under whose care the Imperial Theaters were. He increased the height and width of the building, redesigned the interior and exterior decoration, diluting the classical architectural style with elements of early eclecticism. The sculpture of Apollo over the entrance to the theater was replaced with a bronze quadriga (chariot) created by Peter Klodt. At the moment, neoclassicism is considered to be the architectural style of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
In the 1890s. the theater building again needed repair: it turned out that its foundation was on barely holding wooden piles. The theater was also in dire need of electrification. According to the project of the architects of the Bolshoi Theater - I. I. Rerberg and K. V. Tersky, half-rotted wooden piles were replaced by new ones by 1898. This temporarily slowed down the settlement of the building.
The Bolshoi Theater in the Soviet period
From 1919 to 1922, there were disputes in Moscow about the possibility of closing the Bolshoi Theater. This, however, did not happen. In 1921, a large-scale inspection of the structures and the entire theater building was carried out. She identified major problems at one of the walls of the auditorium. In the same year, restoration work began under the guidance of the architect of the Bolshoi Theater of thattime - I. I. Rerberg. The foundation of the building was strengthened, which made it possible to stop its settlement.
During the Great Patriotic War, in the period from 1941 to 1943, the building of the Bolshoi Theater was empty and was covered with protective camouflage. The entire acting troupe was transferred to Kuibyshev (modern Samara), where a residential building located on Nekrasovskaya Street was allocated for the theater premises. After the end of the war, the theater building in Moscow was reconstructed: the interior decoration was replenished with a luxurious and extremely expensive curtain made of brocade. It has long served as the main highlight of the historical scene.
Reconstructions from the 2000s
The beginning of the 2000s was marked by a historic event for the Bolshoi Theatre: the New Stage appeared in the building, created with the latest technology, with comfortable seats and thoughtful acoustics. The entire repertoire of the Bolshoi Theater was staged on it. The new stage began operating in 2002, its opening was accompanied by the opera The Snow Maiden by N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov.
In 2005, a grandiose reconstruction of the Historical Stage began, which lasted until 2011, despite the initial plans to complete the work in 2008. The last performance on the Historical stage before its closing was MP Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov. During the restoration, the technicians managed to computerize all the processes in the theater building, and the restoration of the interior decoration required about 5 kg of gold and painstaking work.hundreds of the best restorers in Russia. However, the main features and characteristic features of the external and internal decoration by the architects of the Bolshoi Theater were preserved. The building was doubled in area, which eventually amounted to 80 thousand m22.
New stage of the Bolshoi Theater
In 2002, on November 29, after 7 years of construction, the New Stage was inaugurated. It is less luxurious and pompous than the Historical Stage, but it still hosts most of the repertoire. On the posters of the Bolshoi Theater, inviting the audience to the New Stage, you can see excerpts from various ballets and operas. The ballet performances of D. Shostakovich are especially popular: "The Bright Stream" and "The Bolt". Opera productions are presented by P. Tchaikovsky (Eugene Onegin, The Queen of Spades) and N. Rimsky-Korsakov (The Golden Cockerel, The Snow Maiden). The price of tickets for the New Stage, unlike the Historical Stage, is usually lower - from 750 to 4000 rubles.
Historical Stage of the Bolshoi Theater
The historical stage is rightfully considered the pride of the Bolshoi Theatre. The auditorium, which includes 5 tiers, can accommodate about 2100 people. The area of the stage is about 360 m2. The most famous performances of opera and ballet are held on the Historical Stage: Boris Godunov, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Candide and others. However, not everyone can afford to buy a ticket. Usually the minimum ticket price is 4,000 rubles, while the maximum can reach up to 35,000 rubles and more.
The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow is the property and one of the main attractions not only of the city, but of the whole of Russia. The history of its formation since 1776 is dotted with both bright and sad moments. Severe fires destroyed several predecessors of the Bolshoi Theatre. Some historians count the history of the theater from 1853, from the theater, revived by the architect A. K. Kavos. Its history also knew wars: Patriotic, Great Patriotic, but the theater was able to survive. Therefore, connoisseurs of high art can still see the best opera and ballet performances on the New and Historical Stages.
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