Bolshoi Theatre celebrates 240th anniversary

Bolshoi Theatre celebrates 240th anniversary

The Russian State Academic Bolshoi Theatre is celebrating its 240th anniversary today.

On March 28th 1776 the provincial prosecutor Prince Petr Urusov received permission from the Empress Catherine II on the holding of theatrical performances, concerts and masquerades for ten years.

The opening of the first building of the theater took place in late 1780. The wooden building of the Bolshoi Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1805 and 1812. A modern theater building was constructed in 1820-1824 by architect Osip Bove. It was opened on January 18th 1825.

Among the outstanding artists of the second half of the 19th century are singers Alexandra Alexandrova-Kochetova, Maria Deysha-Sionitskaya, composers Anton Rubinstein, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Alexander Arensky. The theater reached its golden age at the beginning of the 20th century with the appearence of Fyodor Chaliapin, Leonid Sobinov, Antonina Nezhdanova and Sergei Rachmaninov.

After the revolution of 1917 the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre ceased to exist – the National Grand Theatre was opened, it was renamed the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre in 1919.

Nadezgda Obukhova, Valeria Barsova, Ivan Kozlovsky, Sergey Lemeshev, Irina Maslennikova and Leocadia Maslennikova, Zurab Andzhaparidze, Pavel Lisician, Irina Arkhipova, Galina Vishnevskaya, Elena Obraztsova, Vladimir Atlantov; Ekaterina Geltser, Asaf Messerer, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova, Natalia Bessmertnova, Vladimir Vasiliev, Maris Liepa and Mikhail Lavrovsky have performed on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre in various years.

On October 28th 2011 the Bolshoi Theatre was re-opened after an extensive six-year renovation.

Now the Bolshoi Theatre is known due to contemporary artists such as Makvala Kasrashvili, Dinara Alieva, Catherine Shcherbachenko, Svetlana Shilova, Maxim Paster, Elchin Azizov, Badri Maisuradze, Svetlana Zakharova, Maria Alexandrova, Ekaterina Krysanova Vladislav Lantratov and Artem Ovcharenko.

The General Director of the Bolshoi Theater Vladimir Urin said that the formation of the repertoire is a major and very challenging task for any theater, especially the Bolshoi Theater.
"Of course, choosing a repertoire, we understand that the Bolshoi Theater is the first national musical theater in the country. And we have our own self-censorship. In the first place, it is desirable to choose superior opera and dance compositions, both in terms of staging and performers," RIA Novosti cited him as saying.

The famous Russian film director Yegor Konchalovsky in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza noted that "of course, when it comes to the symbol of the Russian theater, then the Bolshoi Theater is our trademark". "Our Russian and Soviet ballet is primarily associated with the Bolshoi Theatre. This is one of the areas which we have always been proud of and will be. So, of course, the Bolshoi Theatre as an art house is probably still number one in terms of brand recognition in the world. Apart from the fact that it is, indeed, a great, huge and large house of art," the film director said.

The artistic director of the the Samed Vurgun Russian Drama Theater in Baku, Alexander Sharovsky, recalled his recent visit to the Bolshoi Theater, where its staff organized a special tour for him. "And among other amazing things we saw there was a wonderful museum of Maya Plisetskaya. It was amazing, with what love and dignity the life story of the great ballerina was represented," he said.

"I'm not a great expert in the opera and ballet sphere, but for people of my generation, born and raised in the Soviet Union, the Bolshoi Theater is Kozlovsky, Lemeshev, Ulanova, Lepeshinskaya, it is a matter of pride for the great people," Sharovsky concluded.