The State Historical Museum of Moscow
Russian Toponyms

The Bolshoi Theatre

The State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Russia or simply the Bolshoi Theatre has been a symbol of Moscow for centuries, as famous as the Kremlin or St. Basil Cathedral. However, during the past six years, жители и гости российской столицы могли видеть лишь строительные леса (Moscow residents and visitors of our capital could only see the impressive scaffolding), hiding the beautiful facade of the building constructed in 1856, under the supervision of architect A. K. Kavos.

Nevertheless, the history of the Bolshoi Theatre began nearly a century earlier, in 1776, when the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre opened, built thanks to the efforts of Prince Peter Urusov and English entrepreneur Michael Medox. Later, the theatre burned down several times and was even moved to another place. Но в итоге всё же вернулся на то место, где мы его можем видеть и сегодня – на Театральную площадь Москвы (but in the end, it did return to the place where it can be see today, on the Theatre Square of Moscow).

The theatre has acquired its now familiar appearance after the installation of бронзовая квадрига работы Петра Клодта (the bronze quadriga sculpted by Peter Klodt) over the entrance portico and гипсовый двуглавый орёл (the plaster double-headed eagle, the national emblem of the Russian Empire and today’s Russian Federation) was put up on the front. During the Soviet era, the coat of arms was changed, but it was returned to place in the course of the restoration work, which ended in October 2, 2011.

There is a story related to the sculpture of Apollo’s chariot. This sculpture can be seen of every 100 roubles notes, but without one important detail from the original. The fig leaf covering the genital part of Apollo has been forgotten. How and why such an artistic decision was taken still remains unknown to now.

Over the centuries many outstanding artists performed at the Bolshoi Theatre. Only during the last century, great artists such as Maris Liepa, May Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev, Tsiskaridze performed on this fabulous scene. The troupe of the theatre regularly gives performances in other countries, always with great success.

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On October 28, a grand opening is planed at the Bolshoi Theatre after the renovation. Вокруг этого события возник невероятный ажиотаж (the event originated an incredible fever). Despite the fact that the members of the Presidential Administration of Russia are invited for the opening gala, so that it is impossible to get a ticket for that day and the few following weeks, you can already check the prices on the official site of the theatre. It appears that the cheapest ticket for the few first performances will coast you not less than 90 000 roubles and the most expensive, the modest sum of 2 million roubles. However, the other performances of the season are much more affordable with prices ranging from 500 to 5 000 roubles.

Евгения Плещунова