Grand Performances at Maly Theater

If you are not so much a fan of opera and ballet as you are of good-old-fashioned theater, make a stop at the Maly Theater the next time you visit Moscow. This beautiful old theater is sometimes called ‘Moscow’s second university’ due to the massive influence it has had in Russia’s enlightenment. In fact, the theater was built in 1818 for a merchant known as Vargin who had seen spectacular theatrical performances whilst in Paris at the Palais-Royale and who wanted to share this new found passion with the people of Russia. So, he commissioned the architects Elkinsky and Bove with the task of designing a residence with a grand concert hall, which was exactly what they did. A few years later he rented his hall out to the state and the Maly Theater was in business.

The Imperial Theater Group’s first performance at the Maly Theater took place in 1824 after this group was transferred here from Fashkov’s Palace. Not long afterwards, the Bolshoi Imperial Theater was opened, but it did not threaten the Maly’s existence even though it was much larger in size. The simple fact that the Bolshoi focused on opera and ballet and the Maly concentrated mainly on dramas meant that the two theaters did not really compete with each other. Maly is the Russian word for ‘small’ and this is appropriate since not only the theater is smaller than that of the Bolshoi but theatrical drama productions were considered to be less spectacular than operas and ballets.

Unfortunately a fire caused major destruction to the Maly theater in 1841 but the building was soon rebuilt to the design of Ton. It was at about this time that smoking became prohibited at the theater. As Moscow’s leading drama theater, the Maly Theater saw the premieres of a number of notable Russian plays. In 1853 it staged Ostrovsky’s play ‘Don’t Sit in Your Neighbour’s Sledge’ which was such a resounding success that the theater came to be known as the “House of Ostrovskv”. Today there is a statue of this great playwright in front of the theater. Today the Maly Theater still hosts exceptional theatrical performances and it should definitely be included on any traveller’s must-see list.

 



User Comments & Reviews: 1 Comment(s)

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Clint Black - 2009-11-18 00:21:08

thaks for the info

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