The State Academic Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre, literally meaning the “Big Theatre”, represents all of Russian theatrical traditions including opera, ballet, plays and orchestra.

The history of the world-known theatre began in 1776. The Prince Peter Urusov who was a state prosecutor, had been allowed to have his own theatre providing that he would build a permanent building for the theatre company to perform. The Prince had a partner in this business, Michael Maddox, the Oxford graduate and entrepreneur. Eventually Urusov’s business fell through and he conceded his privilege to keep the theatre to Maddox. In order to construct the theatre building Maddox bought a land plot at the start of Petrovskay Street. The stone, three-storey building with a timber roof of the so-called Maddox’s Theatre (or Petrovsky Theatre) was built in five months. The new theatre accepted its first spectators on 30th of December 1780.

25 years after the opening date, in the winter of 1805, the Petrovsky Theatre was burnt down. Things changed when Osip Beauve from St. Petersburg was appointed the new chief architect of Moscow in 1814. It is the construction of the Petrovsky Theatre which, according to contemporaries, “like a phoenix raised his walls from the ashes in the new splendour and brilliance” that the architect is most famous for. In 1820 the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts announced a competition for the best theatre, a project which was won by the famous St. Petersburg architect Andrei Mikhailov.

The grand opening ceremony of the theatre, now under the new name of the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre, took place on 6 January 1825. However, yet another fire occurred again in March 1853. The fire’s intensity was so great that all the snow in the Theatre Square melted. The new theatre, named the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre was opened on 20 August 1856.

In June 2005 the Bolshoi Theatre was closed due to reconstruction which had been planned long ago.
It was six years later that the audience hall, grand Imperial lobby, choral hall were recreated and a new Beethoven hall was opened. The lower lobby with its famous “Stalin’s coffee-bar” was also restored preserving the interiors of 1937.
The reconstructed Bolshoi Theatre accepted its first spectators on 28 October 2011.

Today the theatre is a large theatrical complex, but it still remains the main national Russian theatre, the bearer of Russian theatrical traditions and one of the world’s leading cultural centres. Tour to Moscow