The history of the Bolshoi Theater creation
Initially the Bolshoi Theater was a private theater that belonged to the provincial prosecutor, prince Pyotr Vasilyevich Urusov. On March 28, 1776, the Empress Catherine II signed the order to the prince supporting performances, masquerades, balls and other entertainments for the period of ten years. This date is considered the foundation day of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater.
At the first stage of the Bolshoi Theater the existence, the opera and drama troupes formed a single one. Its composition of the team was the most diverse: from serf artists - to the stars invited from abroad. The content of the performances was financially burdensome, and Prince Pyotr Urusov shared his “privilege” with his companion, Michael Maddox.
The first theater building was built on the right bank of the Neglinka river. It overlooked Petrovka Street; hence, the theater got its name - Petrovsky. Its opening took place on December 30, 1780.
The Petrovsky Theater, erected in record time - in less than six months, was the first public theater building of such magnitude, beauty and convenience constructed in Moscow. By the time of its opening, prince Urusov, however, was already forced to cede his rights to the companion, and the “privilege” was extended only to Maddox. Later the theater acquired the status of the Imperial.
In autumn of 1805, the building of the Petrovsky theater burned down. The troupe began performing on private stages. In July 1820, the construction of a new theater building was initiated. It had to become the center of urban planning composition of the square and all surrounding streets. The facade, decorated with a mighty portico on eight columns with large sculptural group - Apollo in a chariot with three horses, “looked” at the Theater Square under construction.
On January 18, 1825, the grand opening of the new Petrovsky Theater took place - the new building was much larger than the burned-away old one, and therefore it was called the Bolshoi Petrovsky theater. The prologue “The Triumph of Muses”, written specially for this occasion, was performed to the verses by M. Dmitriev, with choirs and dances to the music of Alexander Alyabyev, Alexey Verstovsky and Friedrich Scholz; as well as the ballet “Cendrillon”, staged by the French dancer and choreographer Félicité Hullin-Sor to the music of her husband F. Sor. Muses triumphed over the fire that destroyed the old theater building, and, led by the Genius of Russia, played by the twenty-five-year-old Pavel Mochalov, revived a new temple of art from the ashes. Although the theater was very large, it could not accommodate all those who wanted to see the performance. Emphasizing the importance of the moment and considering the desire of the public, the triumphal performance was completely repeated on the next day.
Dramatic performances were continued to be staged at the Bolshoi Petrovsky theater, however, operas and ballets began to occupy an increasingly important place in its repertoire. Works by Donizetti, Rossini, Meyerbeer, young Verdi and works of the Russian composers were performed.
The building of the Bolshoi Petrovsky theater existed for almost 30 years. However, it suffered the same fate: on March 11, 1853, a fire broke out in the theater. It lasted three days and destroyed almost everything. After that, active restoration work was carried out.
The last performance of the Imperial Bolshoi Theater took place on February 28, 1917. On March 13, the same year the State Bolshoi Theater opened. After the October Revolution, the Theater existence was at stake. It took several years for the proletariat government to abandon forever the idea of closing the Bolshoi Theater and ruining the building. However, in 1922 the Bolsheviks’ government nevertheless found the closure of the theater economically inexpedient. By that time, the authority was already "adapting" the building to its needs. The Bolshoi Theater hosted the All-Russian Congresses of Soviets, meetings of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, and congresses of the COMINTERN (Communist International). The formation of a new country - the USSR - was also proclaimed from the stage of the Bolshoi Theater.
During the Great Patriotic War, the building of the Bolshoi Theater was damaged by a bomb. However, already in the autumn of 1943, the Bolshoi Theater resumed its activities with the production of M. Glinka’s opera Ivan Susanin, which was recognized as patriotic and popular. At this period, a part of the troupe remained in Moscow and continued to perform on the stage of the theater branch. Many artists performed as the part of front-line teams, while others themselves went to the front.
The Bolshoi Theater underwent many reforms and restorations, in 2002, the New Stage was opened, and since 2005, another reconstruction had been carried out. The restoration of the country's main theater stage became a landmark event for a large, well-coordinated team of professionals of the highest level. The project brought together the unique specialists whose great work was highly appreciated by the audience of the Bolshoi Theater.