The famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

The Bolshoi Theater at night

The Bolshoi Theater at night ©Katie@!/Flick

The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow is one of the most important institutions of this kind in the world. The company of Bolshoi Teatr, which can be translated as Grand Theater, was founded on the 28th of March 1776 by Prince Peter Urusov and Michael Maddox, an English entrepreneur. The construction of the building started in 1824 in the Theater Square on the site of the former Petrovka Theater destroyed by fire in 1805 and by the French army in 1812. The plans of the buildings were made by Joseph Bové (Osip Ivanovich) and the work was coordinated by architect Andrei Mikhailov who built Mali Theater 1824.


The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow ©Robert Nyman/Flick

The first years of the theater

Initially, the famous theater was called the Grand Imperial Theater of Moscow, operating in parallel with the Great Imperial Kamenny Theater in St. Petersburg. The official inauguration took place on the 25th of October 1825. That day was presented the ballet “Cendrillon” of the Spanish composer Fernando Sor.

First the repertoire consisted mostly of works of Russian composers, but after 1840 on the theater posters began to appear names of foreign artists as well.

The reconstruction of the Bolshoi Theater

In 1853 a serious fire destroyed the theater halls that were rebuilt afterwards in a personal style by the Italian architect Alberto Camillo Cavos, the son of the composer and conductor Catterino Cavos.

On the 20th of August 1856, the Bolshoi Theater reopened and has been a witness of one of the most important art events in the world. At the theater was the premiere of the “Swan Lake” balet of Tchaikovsky and the “Prince” and “Mazepa” operas. This was also the place where the public could attend the first works of Rachmaninov, Moussorgsky and Shostakovich.

Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theater

Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theater ©Andrew Gatt/Flick

From the year 1919 the theater started to host symphony concerts as well. That was also the moment when its name was changed from Imperial Theater in Academic State Theater.

Hard times for the Bolshoi Theater

The Bolshoi Theatre was almost closed for several times, but it survived.  Even more, it will be enlarged with a new Beethoven Hall in 1921. Between 1921 and 1923, the theater will be renovated by architect Ivan Rerberg.

The international fame of the theater

The post-Stalin period is the beginning of the journey of the Bolshoi Theater to fame and international recognition, the ballet school became a landmark for art and culture in the world.

The Bolshoi Opera and the Bolshoi Ballet (with over than 200 artists) are among the oldest and most famous companies of this kind in the world. Celebrities like Galina Ulanov, Maya Plisetskaya and Rudolf Nureyev were trained at the ballet school of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, wrote the history of this temple where the majesty and the joy of dancing are natural and major coordinates of human existence.

Between the years 2005-2011 the famous Bolshoi Theater in Moscow has undergone an extensive renovation. It was reopened in the 28th of October 2011. The event was marked by a ballet and opera music spectacle.

The Bolshoi Theater at night

The Bolshoi Theater at night ©Katie@!/Flick

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