Bolshoi is one of the leading ballet and opera companies in the world. The
imposing home of the internationally-famed Bolshoi ballet and opera was
constructed in 1824 by Osip Bove, though the company itself was begun in 1773 as
a dancing school for the Moscow Orphanage. For much of its history the Bolshoi
was overshadowed by the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, but with Moscow's
restoration as the capital in 1918 it gained preeminence. For most of the last
three decades the Bolshoi was led by Yuri Grigorovich, an artistic director known as much for his
accomplished, classical choreography. Under Grigorovich's tenure, and graced by
the presence of a series of remarkably gifted dancers, the Bolshoi's became
known as one of the world's great ballet companies. Its performances elicit
international acclaim, and an evening at the Bolshoi remains one of Moscow's
sublime pleasures. The lovely, acoustically-excellent theater is a very
The State Bolshoi Theatre of Russia is one of the best musical theaters in the world. The Bolshoi Theater was founded in 1776, by the moment when the First regular troupe in Moscow was organized by Peter Urussov, an educated theatrical Figure and Moscow public prosecutor, and his partner Mikhail Medoks. The troupe was formed from the actors of an earlier Moscow theatrical company, students of Moscow University, and newly engaged serf actors.
Originally the theater did not have its own building therefore performances were staged in a private house of Mr. Vorontsov at Znamenka Street. But in 1780 the theater moved to a special theatrical stone edifice built on the place of the modern Bolshoi Theatre. According to the name of the street, where the theater was situated, they called it Petrovsky Theatre. The repertoire of this first professional musical theater in Moscow consisted of drama, opera, and ballet performances. But the center of special attention were operas - that is why the Petrovsky Theatre was more often called the Opera House. The troupe of the theater was not divided into opera and drama companies: the same actors appeared in dramatic and opera performances.
At that time, this exercised influence on formation of the school of opera singers who were required to be equally professional in vocal and dramatic arts.
Contacts of the Petrovsky Theater troupe with the folk musical art were establishing national traits of execution style on Moscow stage. Also contributing to this was the repertoire which mainly consisted of operas by Russian composers written on the basis of national themes and imbued with popular song art. The most significant of the operas were "The Miller - Sorcerer, Deceiver and Match-Maker" by Mikhail Sokolovsky, "The Bad Luck from the Coach", "Saint-Petersburg's Trade Stalls", "The Miser" by Vassily Pashkevich and many others.
The Petrovsky Theatre was distinguished for one remarkable feature which was not peculiar then to for one theater in the world. It had a Consultative Committee which consisted of leading actors and decided all creative matters: adopted plays for staging, composed the repertoire and cast the plays.
In 1805, the edifice of the theater was burnt down, and till 1825 performances were staged on various theatrical sites.
In 1806, the theatre became a national one under the authority of the Office of Moscow Imperial Theatres. At that time, works of Italian and French composers were for the first time staged at the theater. Domestic operas by composers Alexander Aliabiev and Stepan Davydov were directed as well.
In 1824, on the place of the burnt down Petrovsky Theatre a new theater, which was named Bolshoi Petrovsky, was built by architect O. Bove. It was opened on January 18, 1825 by the Prologue "The Triumph of the Muses" to music of A1eoei Verstovseo and Alexander Aliabiev.
The new edifice of the Bolshoi Theatre became one of the most beautiful theatrical buildings in the world due to its perfect classical architecture.
After moving of the theater to the new edifice, its organization was headed by theatrical Figures - dramatist Feodor Kokoshkin and composer Alexei Verstovsky.
The ballet, represented in 1920s by the art of Ekaterina Gueltser, Vassili Tikhomirov, Victorina Krigher, Maria Reizen, Leonid Zhukov, received in 1930s - 1940s brilliant continuation owing to the art of Matina Semionova, Asaf Messerer, Galina Ulanova, Alexei Ermolaev, Olga Lepeshinskaya, Mikhail Gabovich, Vladimir Preobrazhensky, Juri Kondratov, and later - Iaoa Plissetskaya, Raissa Struchkova. Talented ballet-masters of older generation, namely
Vassili Vainonen, Rostislav Zakharov,
Leonid Lavrovsky, worked with these actors.
In 1918, a school headed by
Konstantin Stanislavsky and where the principles of opera direction were formed was organized in the theater. These undertakings were continued in the works of Vladimir Lossky, Iosif Lapitsky,
Leonid Baratov, and later - Georgi Anissimov, The dramatic culture of the theatre achieved particular success in the creative work of director
The vocalists Irina Arkhipova, Galina Vishnevskaya, Oamara Iilashkina, Elena Obraztsova, Bela Rudenko, Vladimir Atlantov, Juri Mazurok, Alexander Vedernikov, Eugenie Nesterenko, Artur Eizen,
Zurab Sotkilava, Tamara Siniavskaya,
Makvala Kasrashvili, Nina Terentieva are famous in many countries all over the world now.
Thanks to the ballet-dancers Ekaterina Maksimova, Nina Timofejeva, Natalia Bessmertnova, Ludmila Semeniaka, Nadezhda Pavlova, Svet1ana Adyrkhajeva, Nina Semizorova, Alla Mikhalchenko, Vladimir Vassiliev, Maris Liepa, Mikhail Lanovsky, Alexander Bogatyriov, Viacheslav Gordejev, Irek Mukhamedov, the ballet art of the Bolshoi Theatre gained international acknowledgment.
In the ballet performances directed by Yuri Grigorovich in 1960s - 1990s, the art of ballet dancers was revealed in full splendour.
The orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater is one of the best symphony orchestras in the world.
The glorious traditions of' its conductor' s school were founded by
Nikolai Golovanov, Samuil Samosud, Ariy Pazovsky, Alexander Melik-Pashajev, Juri Fajer, Vassili Nebolsin, Boris Khaikin, Eugeni Svetlanov,
Mstislav Rostropovich, Mark Ermler, Alexander Lazarev.
Creative activities of the Bolshoi Theatre are complex and diverse: preparation of new performances, fundamental revival of "golden reserves", a lot of tours. Nowadays, all continents of the planet know the Bolshoi Theatre.
Famous foreign companies and outstanding actors have performed on its stage: La Scala, Vienna Opera, opera and ballet troupes from America, England, Sweden, Germany; Montserrat Naballe, Lucano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Alicia Alonso, Ivette Chauvire, Vladimir Malakhov, ballet stars of Paris Opera, and many others. Many well-known foreign directors and distinguished conductors worked in the Bolshoi Theatre.
Works of domestic musical dramatic art firmly
established in the repertoire: at first there were operas vaudevilles and
ballets-variety entertainments based on folk melodies and stories, and later -
full-length operas, the best oI which was "Askold s Grave" by Alexei
Opera productions of Mikhail Glinka, the founder of Russian classical music, became
the most important event in the history of the Bolshoi Theater. Ao stagin: "Ivan
Sussanin" in 1842 and "Ruslan and Ludmila" in 1846 the Bolshoi Theater started
to create national classical repertoire.
In March 1853, a destructive fire failed to
exterminate only the external walls of the theater and its columned front
facade. The edifice xi.as restored and slightly reconstructed by the architect
Albert Kavos and was opened in 1856. In this appearance, my minor alterations,
it exists up to now.
The great significance to the history of the theater was provided by opera
and ballet legacy of the great Russian composer Piotr Chaikovsky. His operas
"Eugene Onegin", "The Queen of Spades", "The Cherevichki", "Maxepa", "Iolanta",
ballets "The Swan Lake", "The Sleeping Beauty" produced in 1870's - 1890's and
later - the ballet "Nutcracker" are placed on golden record of the repertoire.
In 80's and 90's of the XIX century, works of composers from "The Mighty Group"
- "Boris Godunov" by Modest Mussorgsky, "Sadko" and "The Snow Maiden" by Nikolai
Rimsky-Korsakov, "The Prince Igor" by Alexander Borodin- were produced on the
stage of the Bolshoi Theater. The history of the Bolshoi Theater numbers many
distinguished singers who were passing traditions of Russian vocal school and
actor's mastery from generation to generation.
The history of the Bolshoi Theater numbers many distinguished singers who
were passing traditions of Russian vocal school and actor's mastery from
generation to generation.
The real golden age of Russian vocal-execution
school set in at the beginning of the XX th century and was connected with
coming to the Bolshoi Theater of Leonid Sobinov, Antonina Nezhdanova, Feodor
Creative work of these great actors placed Russian
vocal-dramatic art among the best in the world.
Traditions of national
Russian ballet started to form on the Bolshoi Theater stage as far back as the
beginning of the XIX-th century and were connected with activities
ofbaIler-master Adam Glushkovsky, later - with ballet-dancers Ekaterina
Sankovskaya, Nadezhda Bogdanova, Praskovia Lebedeva, on the eve and at the
beginning of the XX th century - with Liubov Roslavleva, Adelaida Jury, Ekatenna
Gueltser, Yassili Tikhomirov, ballet-master Alexander Gorsky.
conductor' s desk of opera and ballet- performances there stood conductors
Ippolit Altani, Vyacheslav Suk, Sergey Rachmaninov, chorus leader Ulrikh Avranek, sets were
designed by Carl Waits, Alexander Golovin, Konstantin Korovin.
year of 1917, works of Soviet composers - the operas "The Still Don-River" and
"The Upturned Virgin Soil" by Ivan Dzerzhinsky, the ballet "The Red Poppy" by
Reingold Glier - ' were produced on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater together
with the best works of Russian and foreign classical composers.
The opera dramatic art of the XX-th
century is represented by the names of Nadezhda Obukhova, Valeria Barsova, Ivan
Kozlovsky, Alexander Pirogov, Ksenia Derzhinskaya, Serguei Lemeshev, Mark
Reizen, Nikolai Ozerov, Maria Maksakova, Maxim Mikhailov, Dmitri Golovin, Elena
Stepanova, Panteleimon Nortsov, Irina Maslennikova, Nikandr Khanaev, Elizaveta
Shumskaya, Vera Davydova, Georgi Nelepp, Alexei Ivanov, Ivan Petrov, Alexei
Krivchenia, Alexander Ognivtsev.
The creative team numbers about 900 actors of opera, chorus, ballet, orchestra, pantomime group, children' s choir.
Besides participating in performances, the actors take partin various concerts (solo or ensemble ones) in the Beethoven's Hall or in the White Foyer of the theater. The
Chorus of the Bolshoi Theatre, the Symphony Orchestra, the Brass Band, the Children' s Choir, the Percussion Instruments Ensemble and the Chamber Group of the Orchestra show exceptional concert programs.
Today's Bolshoi Theater means the grandeur of traditions being developed in the contemporaneity, e means the scale of artistic individualities gathered in its troupe, it means the repertoire, it means concentrated creative life, it means daily hard work and regular improvement of mastery.
Bolshoi hall plan
Bolshoi Ballet Video
Swan Lake Ballet - Pas de Quatre - "Small Swans" dance
Parterre seats in Bolshoi theatre
Stage is wider than the parterre and ther are big aisles between parterre edges and amphitheatre. So all Parterre seats are consider to be "middle" seats.
It is an orchestra between the parterre and the stage. Because of it first rows of the parterre and not too close to the stage and you have best view from these seats. The orchestra is significantly below the parterre level, so you do not have any obstacles to see a performance.
Dress Code for Bolshoi theatre
There is no strict dress code for the Bolshoi theatre. Casual dress is accepted, for example you can wear jeans if you want. The only dress that are not allowed are shorts and T-shirts.
Address: Teatralnaya (Theatre) square, 4/2
, see map