The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow: history, present and future

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The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow: history, present and future
The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow: history, present and future

Video: The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow: history, present and future

Video: The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow: history, present and future
Video: Звезда Кировского балета. Валентина Ганибалова. 2023, October

The State Academic Bolshoi Theater has long been one of the main attractions of Moscow, a symbol of the cultural life of the capital and the whole country. It is located in the very center of the capital, not far from the Kremlin. Today it is the place where the best opera and ballet classics are shown.

By decree of the Empress

In March 1776, Catherine the Great signed a "privilege" in respect of Prince Peter Urusov. He was granted the right to maintain and conduct performances, entertainment events, theatrical performances, masquerades and balls for a period of ten years. The official date of the emergence of the Bolshoi Theater is March 28, 1776

Later, the prince transferred his rights to the English businessman Michael Maddox, who, nevertheless, could not cope with the leadership. As a result, the theater was transferred to the Public Board of Trustees for debts.

During its existence, the theater building was repeatedly destroyed by fire, but restored. The status of the theater troupe also changed. Since 1862it fell under the jurisdiction of the Directorate of the Imperial House, then was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Governor-General. The change of management principles took place until 1917, when the theater was nationalized and divided into Bolshoi and Malyi.

In the photo you can see the interior of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow.

theater begins with a hanger
theater begins with a hanger

Mystery of the name: why "Big"?

The first building of the theater was built with Maddox's money on the right side of the Neglinka and overlooked Petrovka Street. Therefore, his name was originally Petrovsky.

The three-storey brick building with white details was five meters high and cost 130,000 silver rubles. It burned down in 1805. In 1812, during the Patriotic War, the Arbat wooden theater building designed by C. Rossini burned down for the second time.

In 1820, construction began on a new building designed by Osip Bove. The new building of the theater towered over the Theater Square by 32 meters. The building was majestic and beautiful, surpassed the famous Petersburg Opera and was called the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre. Here is what S. Aksakov wrote about the opening of the new theater building:

The Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre, which emerged from old, charred ruins, amazed and delighted me… The magnificent huge building, exclusively dedicated to my favorite art, already with its very appearance brought me into joyful excitement.

Stage and auditorium
Stage and auditorium

It served culture for 30 years, but in 1853 it suffered the samesad fate - fire.

The competition for restoration was won by the architect Albert Kavos, who specialized in the creation of theaters and was well versed in the intricacies of such premises. He managed to create an exceptional building for the Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow.

  1. The height of the building has been increased from 32m to 36m.
  2. A second pediment was added to the porticoes with Beauvais columns.
  3. The famous alabaster troika of Apollo has been replaced with a bronze quadriga.
  4. Alabaster bas-reliefs with flying geniuses with a lyre decorated the interior space of the pediment.
  5. The capitals of the columns have changed. The side facades were decorated with sloping canopies on cast-iron pillars.

Below you can see an old photo from 1883 showing the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow.

Bolshoi Theater designed by Albert Cavos
Bolshoi Theater designed by Albert Cavos

Here is what architect Kavos said about it:

I tried to decorate the auditorium as splendidly and at the same time as lightly as possible, in the taste of the Renaissance, mixed with the Byzantine style. The white color studded with gold, the bright crimson draperies of the interior boxes, the various stucco arabesques on each floor, and the main effect of the auditorium - a large chandelier of three rows of lamps and crystal-decorated candelabra - all this deserved universal approval.

In connection with the opening of the new building of the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater, it was decided to continue to celebrate the coronation of the emperor in Moscow. In honor of this event, a special performance was given on the stage, and amonogram of Emperor Alexander II.

The photo below shows a large acoustic hall (Beethoven Hall) of the Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow. You can stand in the center of the hall and speak in a normal voice, but it will be heard in all corners. Once upon a time, the emperor delivered his speeches here to the assembled guests.

Red Acoustic Hall or Beethoven Hall
Red Acoustic Hall or Beethoven Hall

Organ music wasn't always there

Today the Bolshoi is rightfully considered one of the best theaters in the world, especially after the reconstruction in 2011, which significantly increased its capacity. There are three scenes here:

  • historical;
  • new;
  • Beethoven Hall.

The new stage was built in 2002 and is located in the building to the left of the Bolshoi Theatre. The Beethoven Hall was rebuilt after the last reconstruction and is located on the first floor of a historic building. Concerts and performances for children are held here.

There was also a place for the organ, because all the leading theaters of the world are proud of their halls of organ music. The first instrument of the German firm "Eberhard Friedrich Walker" was installed in the Moscow Opera House in 1913. But, unfortunately, it was dismantled. And in 2013, a new organ of the German company Glatter-Getz was installed with a gala presentation and the participation of organists and musicians from the Bolshoi Theater.

The instrument is located on the left side of the stage, at a height of 10 meters in a special gallery. The tubes are hidden in a wooden case, there are additional sliding shutters. The organ is equipped with a mobile console, which allows the performer to be in the orchestra pit or even onstage.

Opera in Moscow (Bolshoi Theatre), such as "Tosca", the overture to Mozart's "Magic Flute" is performed with the inclusion of organ music, which gives a special solemnity to the production. In the photo below you can see a four-hand performance of the Dragee fairy dance from The Nutcracker set to organ music.

organ of the Greater
organ of the Greater

This is the seventh organ in Moscow in terms of the number of pipes. He has two manuals, a pedal keyboard, 32 registers, 1819 metal pipes and a hundred wooden ones. The weight of the new organ is about eighty tons.

Staging seasons

Those who want to see not only ballet, but also opera in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theater, as well as to admire and admire the arrangement and decoration of the theater building, should prefer performances staged on the historical stage.

Please remember that the exhibitions organized here are only available to those visitors who have purchased tickets for the performance or tour.

theater costume museum
theater costume museum

In addition, the Bolshoi organizes seasonal performances. For example, in winter, from the second half of December, sometimes during the Christmas week, the production of The Nutcracker takes place. And the amazing Swan Lake is usually held in September and January.

Tickets to the main and new halls are sold three months before the start of the show. To the Beethoven Hall - in two months. Famous and iconic performances are in high demand, and tickets can be sold during presale at the theater box office.

Tours to the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater in Moscow are also organized. During the tour, visitors can take photos. But to see the exposition of the museum, you need to purchase a ticket for the performance.

Visitors are allowed to take photos of everything except stage rehearsals. The theater has its own museum, but you cannot visit it separately. Museum exhibitions are held in the exhibition and choir halls.