The Bolshoi Theater
The date foundation of the theater is considered March, 28 of 1776 when in the house of Prince Vorontsov in Znamensk was played the first musical performance. Since 1780 the theater got a foothold in its present place, where for it a stone building was built. The square where it was situated, was called Petrovskaya, therefore the theater was also called Petrovsky. In 1821-1824 by project of A. A. Mikhailov and O. I. Bove for the Bolshoi theater the monumental building, which we admire today, was build.
Glory of the Bolshoi theater long ago overstepped the limits of our country. On the 6th of January of 1825was carried out grand opening of the new theatrical building. Special for this event an allegorical prologue with chores “Triumph of muses” was composed. Transformation of feral, ruins, covered with forest into the temple of muses should symbolize renascence of the old Petrovsky theater in the new wonderful form.
In 1853 one of Moscow fires strongly damaged the building. But already in 3 years architecture A. K. Kavos reconstructed it. Kavos kept rectangular scope with heightened central part, the portico which reposes on 8 massive columns. Over the building team of four flying bronze horses, which are steered by god of art Apollo – the symbol of everlasting movement of art and life rose again over the building.
At the beginning of 20 century the Bolshoi theater enters into one of the most brilliant and fruitful periods of its development, by right taking occupying the place among the largest opera-ballet scenes of the world.
The revolution posed new, unprecedented problems before the Bolshoi theater as well as before all institutions of art. According to the decree of November, 9 of 1917 it transformed from imperial theater in soviet one. Repertoire consisted mostly of classics. Applying to the classic opera heritage, the theater found new interpretation of well know works, aspired to reveal in them the features the most close to the present.
The Great Patriotic War began. Collective of the Bolshoi theater, following a command, joined patriotic movement for consolidation defensive capacity of the country and mobilization of all forces for repulse to the enemy. The most celebrated masters set out in the front lines, in hospitals before soldiers. Several workers of the theater fight with arm in their hands. Besides this the theater continued to put out plays. In autumn of 1941 in usual time regular season was opened. But soon the government took a decision about evacuation of the Bolshoi theater in Kuibishev (now Samara). Despite difficult conditions of the wartime, for those years had been performed several new plays.
In the years of the war, especially in postwar period, cast of both opera and ballet troupe was greatly renewed. In the Bolshoi theater many talented artists come. Among them were also prevalent masters. One of the greatest ballerinas of our century G. S. Ulanova became the embellishment of the Bolshoi theater, its sign for the next decades. Foreign repertoire was also enriched with interesting new plays.
The Bolshoi Theater is one of the best theatrical buildings in the world. The five-tier hall is famous for its size and perfect acoustic. It is decorated with gilt model, frescos on the ceiling, the huge crystal five-tire chandelier. Height of the hall makes up 21 m, width is 26 m. It admits 2153 people. Before the Bolshoi theater a square with the fountain, which every minute throws 4 thousand liters of water, spread. The Bolshi Theatre is considered as a pride of Russian Culture. During the whole its being, it was the centre of attraction the best forces russian ballet and opera. On this scene arrived the great Russian composers, conductors, here also worked many famous directors and choreographers.
The ballet trouper is almost consist of graduating students of Moscow Academic Choreographic School.
Theater managed to renew partnership with Paris national opera, theaters La Scala, Covent-Garden, Polish and Latvian national operas, festival “Florentine musical May”. The play “Flying Dutchman” for the first time in Russian history was produced together with one of the largest European theaters – Bavarian state opera.
The State prize of Russia and the six higher awards of the national theatrical prize “Golden mask” (plays “The queen of spades”, “Adventures of rake” and “Light spring”) were awarded to the theater for their successes. The producer of play “Adventures of rake” Dmitry Chernyakov was the first among the musical theater producers who awarded the prize of K. S. Stanislavsky.
On July of 2005 the basic stage of reconstruction of the historical building of the Bolshoi theater. It took not a month for the preparatory stage and now course of the reconstruction was noticed by every spectator. And since September of 2005 to March 2008 it will be possible to sea new plays only on the New stage. The Bolshoi theater plans to return to the normal functioning on two stages in the season of 2008-2009.
The reconstruction of the Bolshoi theater is carried out with the purpose to keep the historical ensemble of the theater, and re-equipment of the stage – for producing modern plays of the world level. For the last years the greatest world theaters (La Scala, Covent-Garden and etc.) have carried out reconstruction. It hasn’t prevent them to keep traditional artistic principles, but allowed to technically equip its buildings according to high demands, made of the national theaters by conductors, artists, producers and choreographer, who put plays at the beginning of XXI century. After the reconstruction the Bolshoi theater will keep not only secular traditions of the Russian music theater, but also become an absolutely equal in rights member of the world theatrical process, a symbol of Russia, an object of pride of all Russians.
Beginning the primary stage of the reconstruction of the historical ensemble of the Bolshoi theater, the governing body of the theater aims at keeping and development of progressive tendency of its creative activity, not reducing the extensive repertoire and continuing to acquaint spectators with new performances of masterpieces of native and western musical cultures. In 2006 the Bolshoi theater will arrange tour “The Bolshoi – to Russian” and will acquaint Russian spectators of the main theater of the country. In the conditions of the reconstruction, which cannot help to make an impact on the creative process, the governing body of the Bolshoi theater regards it as its duty to explain how artistic activity of the theater will be carried out. The primary aim is to keep to the maximum creative potential of the main theater of the country, plays of the current repertoire and to continue its expansion and renewal.
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