2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
One of the oldest in Russia, the first state theater Alexandrinka always arouses special interest among the public and close attention of critics. There is a special account for it: it must correspond to the high rank of the imperial theater, and it has been honorably maintaining this mark for more than 250 years.
The reign of the daughter of Peter the Great, Elizabeth, was marked by a surge in cultural life in Russia. In particular, under it, the spectacle industry demonstrates rapid growth, many private theaters are created, touring troupes of foreign artists gather, playwrights write the first plays in Russian. There is also a need to create a state theater following the example of other European capitals. And on August 30, 1756, Empress Elizaveta Petrovna issues a decree establishing the first imperial theater in Russia. This is how the future Alexandrinka acquires its official status.
At first, the theater is called Russian, it serves to present comedies and tragedies. The basis of the troupe is made up of natives of Yaroslavl: Fyodor Volkov, who became the director of the troupe, and actors Dmitrievsky, Volkov and Popov. Alexander Petrovich Sumarokov, who is considered the progenitor of Russian drama, becomes the playwright and director of the theater. The basis of the repertoire are French plays by Racine, Beaumarchais, Voltaire, Moliere, as well as works by Russian authors: Fonvizin, Sumarokov, Lukin, Knyaznin. The main emphasis was on staging comedies.
Building a building
The theater was incredibly popular in St. Petersburg, but it did not have its own premises, it wandered around different venues, it needed a special building. But only 76 years after its foundation, the Alexandrinsky Theater appeared, the address of which is known to any theatergoer today. In that place, a wooden building originally stood, which was occupied by the Italian troupe Casassi. But later the theater collapsed, the premises were bought by the treasury, and after it was badly damaged in a fire in 1811, the war with Napoleon distracted from its problems.
But, despite the lack of funding, in 1810, Karl Rossi created a project for the restructuring of the square. And only in the 30s, under Nicholas I, the question of building a theater seriously arises. Carl Rossi becomes the head of this process, he took the architects Tkachev and Galberg to his team. A lot of money was invested in the construction, and work began to boil: 5,000 piles were driven into the ground for the foundation of the building, but they decided to save money on decorations. Instead of copper and bronze, painting and woodcarving were used.
The building was erected in just 4 years, and on August 31, 1832, the Alexandrinsky Theater, addresswhich - Ostrovsky Square, 6, found a building built by the greatest architect of our time. Karl Rossi supervised not only the construction, but under his leadership the project of the square and the interior decoration of the hall was brought to life. The Alexandrinsky Theatre, whose photo is now in the album of every tourist who has visited St. Petersburg, is a monument to the great architect.
Architecture and Interior
The Alexandrinsky Theater has become part of Russia's large-scale urban development project. The front facade, facing Nevsky Prospekt, is made in the form of a deep loggia of 10 columns, on the attic of which the famous quadriga of Apollo is located. Along the frieze that borders the building, there are laurel garlands and theatrical masks. The side facades are decorated with porticoes of 8 columns. The building in the Empire style is a real gem of St. Petersburg. The side street leading to the theater, now bearing the name of Rossi, was planned by the architect according to strict ancient laws. Its width is equal to the height of buildings, and its length is increased exactly 10 times. The street is designed in such a way as to emphasize the splendor and grandeur of the architectural image of the building.
The emperor saw the interior only in red, but there was not enough fabric, and her order could greatly delay the opening. The architect managed to convince the ruler - so the theater got its now famous blue upholstery. The hall accommodated about 1770 people, had 107 boxes, stalls, galleries and a balcony, ingenious design giveshim amazing acoustics.
In honor of the wife of Nicholas I, the theater was named Alexandrinsky. It becomes the center of stage life in Russia. Here the Russian theatrical tradition was born, which would later become the glory of the country. After the opening, the Alexandrinsky Theater maintained its usual repertoire policy: mainly comedies and musical plays were staged here. But later the repertoire becomes more serious, it is here that the premieres of Griboedov's comedy "Woe from Wit", "The Inspector General" by N. V. Gogol, "Thunderstorms" by Ostrovsky take place. The greatest actors worked in the theater during this period: Davydov, Savina, Komissarzhevskaya, Svobodin, Strepetova and many others.
By the end of the 19th century, the Alexandrinsky Theater was on the same level with the best drama theaters in Europe in terms of the power of its troupe and performances.
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a crisis that could not bypass the Alexandrinsky Theatre. In 1908, V. Meyerhold headed the group, who strived to create a new repertoire, but at the same time carefully preserved the existing traditions. He puts on unique performances: Don Juan, Masquerade, Thunderstorm, which become masterpieces of the new theater school.
After the October Revolution in 1917, the theater is accused of glorifying the imperial power, hard times are coming. In 1920, it was renamed the Petrograd Academic Drama Theater, and it began to actively stage new dramaturgy: “At the Bottom” and “Petty Bourgeois” by M. Gorky, plays by Merezhkovsky,Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, Alexei Tolstoy and even Lunacharsky (People's Commissar of Education).
In the troupe, thanks to the efforts of the chief director Yuri Yuryev, a galaxy of old masters has been preserved, joined by actors of the new school: Yakov Malyutin, Leonid Vivien, Elena Karyakina. During the Second World War, the theater was evacuated to Novosibirsk, where the actors continued to play performances. In 1944 the troupe returned to Leningrad.
The post-war and subsequent years were not easy for culture in general, and for Alexandrinka as well. But well-known performances still appear here, such as "Life in Bloom" based on the play by Dovzhenko, "Winners" based on B. Chirskov.
In the Soviet period, outstanding actors work: V. Merkuriev, A. Freindlikh, V. Smirnov, N. Marton, N. Cherkasov, I. Gorbachev and brilliant directors: L. Vivienne, G. Kozintsev, N. Akimov, G. Tovstonogov. The theater does not lose its significance, despite the ideological difficulties.
Back to basics
In 1990, the original name returns, and the Alexandrinsky Theater reappears in the world. The years of perestroika are not easy for him, but the theater manages not only to survive, but also to keep the troupe and unique collections of scenery and props. Thanks to the efforts of Academician D. S. Likhachev, the Alexandrinsky Theater became a recognized national treasure. St. Petersburg is impossible to imagine without this cultural institution. It is a symbol of the Russian theater, along with the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky.
Alexandrinsky Theatre, reviews ofwhich is almost always written in enthusiastic tones, tries to keep the brand even today. Since 2003, director Valery Fokin has been at the head. Through his efforts, the theater festival of the same name is held in Alexandrinka. Under the leadership of Fokin, a grandiose reconstruction of the theater took place. He ensured that the theater had a second stage, on which experimental performances are staged. The best actors and directors work here. The theater sees its mission in preserving the traditions of the Russian theater school, in supporting new trends and helping talents.
Famous theater performances
The Alexandrinsky's repertoire has always had the best plays, all the classics were staged here: Chekhov, Gorky, Ostrovsky, Griboyedov. Today, the performances of the Alexandrinsky Theater are created according to the best works of playwrights: "Nora" by G. Ibsen, "The Living Corpse" by L. Tolstoy, "The Marriage" by N. Gogol, "The Double" by F. Dostoevsky. Each performance becomes a global event. V. Fokin is very sensitive to repertoire policy, he says that there can be no random productions here. The theater's mission is to promote the classics, and the latter occupies a leading place in the Alexandrinsky playbill.
The Alexandrinsky Theater Troupe
The Alexandrinsky Theater (St. Petersburg) is known all over the world. Today the troupe employs such stage veterans as N. Urgant, N. Marton, V. Smirnov, E. Ziganshina, as well as talented youth: S. Balakshin, D. Belov, A. Bolshakova, A. Frolov.
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