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Moscow Theaters

“Theater!... Do you love theater, as I do, i.e. by all forces of your soul, with the rage, to which ardent youth, eager and passionate to impression from the grace, is capable? Or it is better say, can’t you help to love theater more than everything in the world except good and truth?” – wrote writer-critic in 30-s of the century before last.

Professional theatrical culture began to form in Moscow since the end of XVII century. In 1672 by order of tsar Alexei Mikhailovitch in Preobrazhensky village on the Yauza “comedy temple” – the building of the first theater in Russia – was constructed. The first performance was staged on October, 17 in 1672. In that day the play with a biblical topic, which lasted about 10 hours, was presented. In 1702 by order of Peter I in Red square near Nickolsky gates of the Kremlin the first in Russia public theater was opened. For it long one-storied building was built. The hall admitted about 400 people. Performances were presented on Monday and Thursday and were accompanied by music and stage effects. That day guards closed the Kremlin gates, China-town and White town much later. Pet of audience – Jester or, how he was called then, “mocking servant” – obligatory acted in all plays.

At first in the theater foreign actors played, but in 1704 in the theater Russian actors presented three plays in the native language. The theater in Red square had existed till 1707. In 30-s of XVIII century in Red square the wooden theater, which admitted 3 thousand people, and where concerts of instrumental music and opera performances were staged, was built. This theater, one of the greatest in Europe, was built by project of young Rastrelly. During one of the largest Moscow conflagrations the theater burned out and by order of empress Elizabeth Petrovna in Lefortovo new theater, which admitted 5 thousand spectators, was erected.

The building had forced-air heating, acoustic insulation and a stage, equipped with various wonders. Right up to the middle of 18 century in troupes of Russian theaters there was no woman. All woman roles were performed by men.

In January of 1763 Russian actor Fedor Volkov presented in streets of Moscow fancy procession in honor of coronation of Catherine II. Representatives of the masquerade, who were dressed in appropriate costumes, unmasked dark sides of Russian life of XVIII century: bribery, unfair trial, cruelty.

MXAT

The day October, 27 (14 by Old Style) of 1898 is historical. In this not only the theater was opened. In this day new era in the history of theatrical art began. The new theater – producer theater in which all particulars, all details are subjected to common producer idea.

The theater in which each character is thoroughly worked over even in a crowd scene. The theater, in which speech of an actor is also important, and historical accuracy in decoration of costumes and all theater company.

In 1912 attached to the theater schools, from which such actors as Androvskaya, Gribov, Stepanova, Tarasova, and Yanshin, Prudkin – the famous “old”, who made the theater famous and was its fame themselves – entered the troupe of the theater, began to be established.

At the end of 1973 theatrical Moscow celebrated 75-aniversary of the MXAT and opening of the new building of the theater in Tverskoi boulevard, not far from the house where Stanislavsky had lived. The hall of the new building admitted 1360 spectators; each of them has an arrangement for simultaneous translation in 4 languages. The stage is equipped in the latest word of technique. Its height makes up 31 m, diameter of the stage circle is 17 m, change of decor has been carried out for very little time with the help of 68 elevators and lifts. The project of the new building was created by the author’s collective: Kubasov, Ulyashov, Tsikunov.

Years of perestroika in our country touched upon also the MXAT. And now famous MXAT traditions are continued by “Tabakerka” – Oleg Tabakov’s theater. In honor of 100-aniversary of the MXAT TV showed serial “Chekhov and Co”, in which all stars of the famous theater acted, and a cycle of TV shows about the MXAT “Mysteries of portrait lobby”.

Today this theater is famous owing to staging the sensational French musical “Notre Dame de Paris”. Russian version of the musical went down in history of this genre development in Russia as the most successful musical. In 1999 the French musical was registered in the book of Giness’s record as the most sellable musical in the world. And now in Moscow on can see this play, and it is difficult to find particular distinctions from the original, because libretto is French. Production is English, everything to the last gesture, to the last stroke in make-up of actors is the same as in French variant. From the very first day invariable “sold out” in the theater during “Romeo and Juliet”, which replaced “Notre Dame de Paris”, accompany audience’s interest.

State Academic Central Puppet Theater

The puppet theater, founded by Sergei Vladimirovitch Obraztsov, became one of the sights of our capital together with the Bolshoi theater, Tretjakov gallery and museums of the Kremlin.

In XXI century State Academic Central Puppet Theater of S. V. Obraztsov is considered as a certain sign, integral sign of the whole epoch, - and at modern plays audience is divided into two parts: for one of them everything what is happening is meeting with long-standing favourites, for others – the first acquaintance, during which the theater again takes an examination. The Museum of Theater puppets, attached to the State Academic Central Puppet Theater of S. V. Obraztsov, was organized in September of 1937. Actor and producer A. J. Fedotov became an active collector and the first director of the museum.

The Museum represents the only in Russia, one of the largest in the world collection of theater puppets of the all famous systems from antiquity till our days, the most valuable material and the rarest written documents, specialized literature and other rarities.

More than 3.5 thousand theater puppets and attributes of puppet shows from 60 countries of the world are represented here. The unique materials in history of the world and Russian puppet theater: about 8 thousand playbills and posters, programs of plays, sketches of decorations and costumes, drafts, typescripts, photos, negatives and slides, video materials and films, private funds and archival materials of the State Academic Central Puppet Theater – in all over 135,000 units of keeping.

Nowadays in the windows of the museum there are 700 puppets from 60 countries. The fund of the museum keeps unique films with records of S. V. Obraztsov’s theater plays of 1930-s. “By a wave of the wand”, “Cat in boots” and also documentary “Novosibirsk seminar” – about preparation of front amateur brigade performances with military sketches. The materials in the history of puppet theater from antiquity to our days, gathered in the Museum, allow to consider it one of the most valuable specialized collections in the world.

LENKOM

The Theater Lenkom occupies a historical building of the former Moscow Merchant club, on the occasion of opening of which, thanksgiving service was officiated in summer of 1990 and the fundament by project of architecture Ivanov-Shits, the follower of modernist style of the beginning of the century, was laid in 1907.

The Merchant club hospitably received Volkonskies, Dolgorukies, Oblenskies, Trubetskois, Apraksins. Lenkom had luck, it materialized in walls, which favoured the art. The walls remember, the walls absorb human emotions and thoughts. After the revolution the building was strongly damaged. But in 1923 in it a cinema, where mostly foreign films were shown, was opened. Masterpieces of world cinematograph with participation of Ruf Rollan, Harry Pil, Conrad Veidt, Charlie Chaplin, Baster Kiton, Mary Pikford, Duglas Ferbenks were shown not in all cinemas of Moscow and the director of the famous cinema “Cinema Malaya Dmitrovka, 6” M. Boitler, by evidence of historian L. Polskaya, generously distributed complimentary tickets to young students of GIK – Serge Ezeinstein and Serge Jutkevitch, and also Petrograd pupils of the Factory of eccentric actor – Lev Kuleshov amd Michail Romm, the future leaders of the soviet cinematograph.

“Lenkom” has its origin in the Theater of Working Youth, founded in 1927 by initiative of the Moscow Komsomol. It is significant that even in the first years when ideologists of the Theater of Working Youth proclaimed in proletarian spirit its credo: “the Theater of Working Youth is not a theater, ant its actor is not an actor, but a excited reporter, agitator, debater”, its young creators didn’t “throw over board of the ship of the present” classical theater experience. Right then the literary part of the theater was headed by Michael Bulgakov (and even as a producer staged the play of F. Knorre “Alarm”), musical part - by Isaac Dunaevsky, dances were presented by Natalia Glan, biomechanics was taught to young students of the theater by daughter of V. Meierhold Irene Hold, acting technique – by the MXAT leaders Nikolai Batalov, Nikolai Hmelev, Alexei Gribov, Victor Stanitsin, Elias Sudakov, scenography was made by Eugene Kibrik, Jury Pimenov, Kukriniksi. And several years later the classics, both Russian and Soviet: plays A. Ostrovsky, M. Gorky, dramatizations of A. Pushkin and N. Ostrovsky, - appeared on the stage of the theater.

New ideas in organization of theatrical business didn’t avoid “Lenkom”. Theatrical concerns, which had been forgotten since pre-revolutionary times, resurrected again and one of the first its events was “…Sorry” (“Lenkom” together with Russian theatrical agency of David Smelyansky). Fascination of the play of Alexander Galin, its vivid modernity, brilliant duet of Churikova and Karachentsov, producing technique of Gleb Panfilov – everything determined both the success of the play in all audiences and its remarkable longevity. It has sustained already 400 performances.

In 1970 poet Andrei Voznesensky published poem “Avos” about events of 165 years long standing. The poem received wide response, it was translated at once in the USA and France. Seven years later the poet finished his libretto for the play “Juno” and “Avos” of the theater Lenkom. The play is about love of Russian traveler to young Spaniard Kanchita. He came in America to establish trade connection. At Kanchita’s birthday they met. But they were not fated to be together. On the way to Russia he died. Kanchita didn’t know it and all her love she had been waiting for his return. Audience liked the play very much. For many years in a row the main role had been played by Nikolai Karachentsev. And the main woman role was played by many famous actresses. As the actors say themselves, the play is popular not only in Russia. House ¹6 in Malaya Dmitrovka is waiting for you!

Stanislavsky theater

In the base of the modern building is the main house of earls Saltikovs’estate town estate, built in XVIII. The Saltikovs’ belonged to the noble boyar family: their ancestors took part in the battles yet under Alexander Nevsky. In XVIII century earls Saltikovs were military governor-generals of Moscow: Semen Andreevitch under Anna Ionnovna, Peter Semenovich under Catherine II, Ivan Petrovitch under Paul. After Ivan Petrovitch Saltikov’s death the estate devolved to his daughter Praskovia Ivanovna Myatleva and grandson Ivan Petrovitch Myatlev (in 1830-s he moved in literary circles, being friends with Pushkin and Lermontov mentioned him in his poems as “Ishka Myatlev”). In 1913 theater-cabaret “Maxim”, built up from the side of Kozitsky lane to the main building. After 1917 in the building of “Maxim” the Dmitrovsky theater, where the Moscow theater of operetta began, was opened. In 1926 by order of the government the building in Bolshaya Dmitrovka was passed to two schools – K. S. Stanislavsky’s opera theater and the Musical school under the direction of V. I. Nemirovitch-Danchenko. The troupes worked here independent from each other and appeared on stage in turn.

In 1938-39 Dmytrovsky theater was fully reconstructed. It was expected that it would wholly pass to Stanislavsky’s troupe. For the theater of Nemirovitch-Danchenko a new building in Tverskoy boulevard began to be built. The war interfered with carrying out these plans. In 1941 integration of the two troupes happened; in the building in Bolshaya Dmitrovka under the direction of I. Nemirovitch-Danchenko the Moscow state Music theater by national artists of the USSR K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovitch-Danchenko began working. The great directors rejected the idea of magnificent opera – “concert in costumes”. They staged plays by laws of dramatic scene and researched psychology of every personage. Stanislavsky’s performances were more detailed and lyrical, performances of Nemirovitch-Danchenko – more contrasting and bright, formally more ingenious. Stanislavsky was more traditional in choice of opera names, in playbills of his school appeared names of the most popular operas – “Eugene Onegin”, “Bohemia”, “Carmen”, “The queen of spades”, “Boris Godunov”. Nemirovitch-Danchenko tried to get repertoire variety, on the one hand adverting to operetta (“Daughter Ango” by Sh. Lekok, “Perikola” and “Beautiful Helen” by J. Offenbakh), on the other hand, actively preparing for classical score and texts.

So its author’s versions of the great opera masterpieces – “Traviata” (the heroine of which became an actress and the act was transferred in Venice) and “Carmen” (“Carmensita and soldier”, a subject of which was read on the level of antique tragedy). Nemirovitch-Danchenko actively collaborated with modern composers, staged new operas. He was the first who showed in Moscow “Catherine Izmailova” by D. D. Shostakovitch. He staged also the first opera of young T. N. Hrennikov – “In storm”. Stanislavsky treated S. S. Prokofiev’s creative work with special attention: the first stage embodiment of opera “Duenjya” belonged to him (unfortunately, only closed performances of this play took place here); in his theater for the first time opera “Semen Kotko” was played.

In 1939 ballet troupe of Viktorina Kriger, by that time had existed already for 10 years, joined the theater of Nemirovitch-Danchenko. The fact that it received its first name in honor of the Arts Theater and was called “Moscow Arts ballet”, says about creative aspirations of the troupe. In its work Boris Mordvinov and Paul Markov – producers, brought up on the ideas of the MXAT – took part. The star of the “Moscow Arts ballet” was Mary Sorokina – ballerina, endowed with uncommon dramatic temperament. A. Urusov, A. Klein, A. Tolsky, Vladimir Burmeister (afterwards heading for the troupe for many years), Nickolai Holfin (who was its first ballet-master) were the members of the collective.

In all times the theater remained more democratic, than emperor’s stages, - lively, cheerful, opened for all new, - and therefore it has been always loved by Moscow intelligence, students, true theater audience.

Since 1956 the both troupes of the theater regularly has acted abroad. The ballet troupe, going in tour several times a year, was in all continents, except Australia. The opera troupe showed its plays in Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, the USA, China, Japan and South Korea. Today in the troupe there are stars of theater and cinema: V. Anisko, V. Korenev, M. Menglet, B. Nevzorov, E. Nikischihina, G. Rizhkova, L. Satanovsky, V. Steklov. V. Kutakova, L. Lushina, N. Pavlenkova, A. Panteleev, T. Pushkina, O. Stanitsina, M. Yanushkevitch work very interestingly. For many years such good and various artists, as N. Antonova, D. Gavrilov, L. Zverintsev, J. Krukov, A. Konstantinova, A. Kruglyak, N. Orlova. The whole group of talented youth: S. Ashkinadze, A. Isaikina, I. Korenev, V. Sazhin, - joined the theater.

K. S. Stanislavsky theater is both inspired searchings and real scenic discoveries of its directors. Here Leonid Varpahovsky, Boris Lvov-Anohin, Anatoliy Vasiliev, Boris Morozov, Alexander Tovstonogov worked here. For theatrical Moscow “Antigona”, “Adult daughter of a young man”, “Sirano de Berzherak”, “Street of Sholom-Aleihem” were the events of spiritual life in its time. The theater was in Australia, Israel, Germany, Poland, keeping the best plays – “Seller of rain” by R. Nesha, “Dog’s heart” by M. Bulgakov or “Talents or admirers” by A. Ostrovsky. The theater constantly renews its playbill. It makes experiments, which, for pleasure of audience, almost always prove true.

The Music theater by Stanislavsky and Nemirovitch-Danchenko received for maintenance the first order of the new building with area 17 thousand sq. m., passed to it in operative control with the right of farming. Reconstructing the Moscow academic Music theater of national artists K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovitch-Danchenko had been led since 2001. Twice – in 2003 and 2005 – the theater heavily suffered from fires. In May of 2005 the fire damnified the audience hall, the stage and orchestral pit in the big hall, which was restored. While the main building of the theater has reconstructed, the troupe acts on different stages, including the stage of State Academic Ballet Theater.

Maliy theater

Maliy theater is the oldest theater of Russia. Its troupe was set up attached to Moscow University in 1756, at once after the famous ukaz of empress Elizabeth Petrovna, which commemorated birth of professional theater in our country: “We order now to establish Russian theater for performance of comedies and tragedies…” The famous poet and playwright M. M. Heraskov headed the Free Russian theater attached to the university. Its artists were students of university gymnasium. In such a way the theater attached to Moscow university was “ancestor” of the Maliy theater. But not because of it the Maliy was called “the second university” but owing to the influence, which it had on Russian culture, minds, mood in the society. The Maliy theater from its foundation is one of the most important centres of Russian spiritual life.

The famous writer I. A. Goncharov, addressing himself to A. N. Ostrovsky (writer and playwrighter), wrote: “Only after you we, Russians, may say with proud: “We have our Russian national theater. It, by rights, should be called “Ostrovsky Theater”. Today Ostrovsky and the Maliy theater – names, inseparable from each other. The modern generation of artists and producers of the Maliy theater differs by adherence to its rich traditions and is guided by experience of predecessors. The theater is headed by artistic leader – national artist of the USSR J. M. Solomin – and general director – national artist of the USSR V. I. Korshunov. In the troupe of the theater there are many famous, loved by people, artists. National artist of the USSR E. V. Samoilov, National artist of the USSR E. A. Bistritskaya, Netional artists of Russia T. P. Pankova, A. I. Kochenkov, I. V. Meravieva, A. Mihailov, J. I. Kaurov, V. P. Pavlov, E. E. Martsevich and many others – the list can be continued. The troupe of the theater numbers more than 100 people, and the total amount of the theater workers is more than 700. The Maliy is the only dramatic theaters of the country – has kept its vocal-dramatic cast, chore and symphony orchestra. The orchestra consists of musicians of the highest professional level, laureates of international contents.

The branch of the Maliy theater in Bolshaya Ordinka street was opened in October of 1995. In every season the Maliy performs 4-5 new plays and takes away something of old names from its repertoire. The touring geography of the theater is extensive. For the last years it was in Germany, France, Japan, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Czehia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mongolia, South Korea and other countries.

By ukaz of Russian president the Maliy theater received the status of national property. The Maliy was entered in the list of very valuable cultural objects of the theater, together with the Bolshoi theater, Tretjakov gallery, the Hermitage.

The Theater of Satire

The history of founding the theater of Satire originates in far pre-revolutionary years, when the circus of brothers Nikitins existed. Then, when because of shortage of food for animals the circus moved, the Moscow music-hall moved in here, then from the music-hall circus the Theater of operetta, and already then – the theater of Satire formed. The theater began its birth in 1924 from the play “Moscow from the point of view”.

From the beginning of 1930-s a comedy of every day life became the basis of the repertoire. People’s manners and relationship were derided. Many good plays were put on stage. In 1963 the building underwent thorough reconstruction and became resembling a theater not a circus. From the old building only big top, which from the height of bird flying reminds a flying disc, remains. Combination of life reality with bright, pungent theatrical techniques, melodiousness, accented, often acute expressiveness of plasticity is typical for actors.

And now the theater pleases by its new performances. The theater inherently is called upon to make audience laugh, to entertain it in order people come there and forget misfortunes and look at the world with laugh. In May of 2002 in the building of the theater of Satire the museum of the theater was opened. In 2004 the theater was 80 years old.

Satirikon

Russian State theater “Satirikon” by A. I. Raikin was organized in Moscow in 1987 on basis of the State theater of miniature under the direction of Arkady Raikin, which formerly since 1939 had been working in Leningrad under the name the Leningrad theater of variety and miniature. The theater worked in the context of many-genre pop program. Sharp satire on the present took the collective away traditional pop form, therefore the theater changed its name into “Satirikon”, from Latin “satura” (literal translation – “odds and ends, medley”).

Roman Saturnalia is the first theater genre, in which word, pantomime, music and dance. Credo of the theater is bright show, grotesque, powerful energetic attack audience hall together with usage of psychological theater methods. Repertoire of the theater consists mostly of foreign dramatic art, more convenient to dynamic individuality of its director: it is Shakespeare and Moljer, Breht and Kafka, Krommelink and Goldman, Goldony and Rostan, Merdok and Zuskind. Dramatic show adjoins with high tragedy, farce – with philosophic parable. But quite recently the theater has applied to Russian dramatic art and to Ostrovsky in particular. The theater has many new performances. The theater successfully tours abroad.

The Theater of Operetta

The building of the theater was built in 1894-1896 by architecture K. V. Tvesky, many times rebuilt. Both the façade and interiors were fully changed. The biggest private theater of Moscow was substituted for “Private opera” by S. I. Zimin, under the Soviet power – the branch of “the Bolshoi theater”. Since 1961 it is the Moscow theater of operetta.

Today “Moscow operetta” remains faithful to its traditions. In its repertoire, uncovering great actor’s and production potential, classic and modern operetta, musical and show unite… “Princess of circus”, “Queen of czardas” and “Maritsa” by I. Kalman, “Buxom widow” by F. Legar and “Bat” by I. Shtraus, staged today with usage of modern light and sound technique, modern language and musical rhythms, without which in all times musical operetta theater is impossible, assume new meaning alongside today’s works. Interesting musical material, non traditional for academic theater approach to selection of actors, usage of super modern technical, light and sound equipment, extensive advertising company made this performance particular among plays, as both the theater of operetta and theaters of Moscow and Russia.

The Theater of “Variety”

The Moscow State Theater of Variety was opened in June of 1954. The new theater got the building in Mayakovsky square, in which formerly restaurant “Alkazar” was sitiated, and then the Theater of Satire worked. In February of 1961 the Theater of Variety moved to Bersenevskaya quay, where it has worked to this day. The theater of Variety is proud of the fact that on its stage the theater of two actors – Mary Mironova and Alexander Menaker - began its life. On the stage of the Theater of Variety such stars as Alla Pugacheva, Sofia Rotaru, Valeriy Leontiev, Eugene Petrosyan, Gennady Hazanov, Alexander Serov, later Philip Kirkorov, Igor Saruhanov, Irina Otieva made their first steps. The first solo concert of Oleg Gazmanov, Sergey Penkin, Julian also took place in the Theater of Variety. On its stage various musical contests take place.


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