The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, located on Theater Square, is one of the main symbols not only of the Russian culture, but also a symbol of Russia itself. This oldest musical theater in Russia bears the full name of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of Russia, but a short name “Bolshoi” has become more popular among the people.
More than 800 works were staged in this theatre. The operas of Wagner, Verdi, Berlioz and many others are among them. The world opera premieres by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Arensky and Prokofiev took place here too.
Even if you are not an avid theatergoer, you can be sure that visiting the Bolshoi Theater will not leave you indifferent.
The exact address of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow is Theater Square, Building 1.
The easiest way to get to the theater is by metro. Near the theater there are two metro stations «Teatralnaya» and «Okhotny Ryad». If you exit at «Teatralnaya», use the exit «to the Bolshoi Theater». If it is more convenient for you to leave the metro at «Okhotny Ryad», use the exit towards Teatralnaya Square.
From the station “Revolution Square” you will reach the Bolshoi by crossing the square with the same name. From the station «Kuznetsky Most», you need to go along Kuznetsky Most Street, and then turn to Theater Square.
The Bolshoi Theater began as a private theater of the provincial prosecutor Knyaz Petr Urusov.
On March 28, 1776, Catherine II signed a “privilege” to the well-known philanthropist, Moscow provincial prosecutor, Knyaz Petr Urusov, for opening an acting troupe and for holding performances, masquerades, balls and other entertainments for a period of ten years. This date is considered the foundation day of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
Urusov's companion was an Englishman, a graduate of Oxford, McCall Medox. It is noteworthy that he originally came to Russia to teach mathematics to the future Emperor Paul 1.
Initially, the theater was located in the annex to the house of Count Vorontsov on Znamenka, and only in 1780 a new building was built in the place where the theater is located today. The theater building was opened on December 30, 1780 with the premiere of the ballet “Magic Shop”.
However, in 1805 the building burned down, and for 20 years until 1825 the performances were staged at different venues.
According to the plan of the architect Osip Bove, in 1821-1825 a new building of the Bolshoi Theater was built in the style of classicism. On January 6, 1825, the performance "The Triumph of Muses" was given here. However, this building also suffered from the beginning fire.
The theater building, which we can admire now, was built in 1856 under the direction of architect Albert Kavos. The building is crowned by the world-famous bronze quadriga of Apollo by Peter Klodt. We see a two-wheeled chariot with four harnessed horses galloping across the sky and the god Apollo controlling them.
Ballet Swan Lake is a symbol and pride of the rest Russian ballet. It has been shown on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater for more than 140 years, and it always collects a full hall.
Now the theater’s repertoire has already the third production of the famous ballet, which is distinguished by an abundance of common scenes (almost the entire troupe performs on the stage at the same time).
This ballet was firstly presented in 1892 at the Mariinsky Theater. It is believed that every ballerina dreams at least once to play the part of the Fairy Dragee.