From the History of the Bolshoi Theatre 

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From the History of the Bolshoi Theatre

More than two hundred years ago (in 1776) a rich Moscow nobleman Prince (князь) Urusov asked the govern­ment for the privilege of founding a Russian theatre in Moscow. He said that he would erect a stone building for it within five years and that the building of the theatre would improve the appearance of the city, would make it more attrac­tive.

The privilege having been given, Prince Urusov organized the first company which consisted of serfs. It was the birth of the Moscow Opera House. But as the building of the theatre was not ready yet the performances for some years took place in different city halls.

In the meantime Prince Urusov and an En­glishman Michael Maddock bought a piece of land in Petrovkastreet in Moscow where the famous Bolshoi Theatre building is still standing today, although its facade has under­gone numerous changes and transformations.

However before the construction started Prince Urusov went bankrupt and the work was done by Maddock alone. Maddock was able to organize the work in such a way and he himself worked so hard that the building was finished in five months instead of five years as it had been first planned.

The official opening ceremony took place in December 1780.

In 1806 the theatre became a state property. But due to the fire which took place the same winter the building was completely destroyed. For nearly twenty years per­formances took place in various city houses and halls, including a specially built wooden building which was also destroyed when Napoleon's troops entered Moscow.

The new building completed in 1824 was more impressive than the old one, its interior being second only to the theatre in Milan.

Another fire in 1853 destroyed the theatre again, leaving nothing but the walls and the front colonnade. Three years later the necessary repairs were completed. Five tiers were added and the acoustics was greatly improved.

Bronze horses decorated the pediment. This is how the building looks today.

At the Bolshoy

BROWN: Look, who’s there! Hello, Mr Ivanov!

IVANOV: Hello, Mr Brown! It’s a small world! May I introduce you to my wife, Mr Brown? … Mary, this is Mr Brown, my old business friend.

MARY: How do you do, Mr Brown.

BROWN: How do you do, Mrs Ivanov. It’s a pleasure to meet you. …Well, a wonderful ballet, isn’t it?

MARY: Yes, it’s an excellent production.

BROWN: Who is the director?

MARY: I don’t know, but the scenery and costumes are beautiful.

BROWN: The cast is very good too. Who is dancing the main part tonight?

MARY: Maksimova. She is very popular. And what’s on at London theaters?

BROWN: Well, a bit of everything, you know. … Oh, here’s the bell! Let’s go to the hall. What are your seats?

MARY: We have seats in the dress circle. Where’s yours?

BROWN: Mine’s in the stalls.

IVANOV: Let’s meet after the performance, shall we?

BROWN: Yes, sure. We can have a drink together in the nearest café.


Look, who's there! О, кого я вижу; It's a small world! Мир тесен!; May I introduce... Позвольте представить...; It's a pleasure to meet you. Рад с вами познакомиться; excellent ['eksələnt] отличный; production постановка; director режиссер; scenery ['si:nəri] декорации; costumes костюмы; cast [ka:st] состав исполнителей; a bit of everything всего понемногу; here's the bell! звонок!; dress circle бельэтаж; the stalls [sto:lz] партер; to have a drink выпить


The Perm State P.I. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre


The Perm State P. Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre of Russia is one of Russia’s oldest and most distinguished companies. It has produced an ever increasing number of works with particular emphasis on the operas and ballets of Pyotr Tchaikovsky who was born near Perm and whose name the theatre bears. The repertoire also includes the traditional Russian operatic highlights: Borodin’s Prince Igor, Rimsky-Korsakov`s Tsar`s Bride and Snow maiden, Mussorgsky`s Boris Godunov. Popular operas by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Leoncavallo,

The Perm Opera is proud to launch the operatic Russian premieres of J. Massenet’s Cleopatre and Cinderella, Rodion Schedrin’s Lolita, G. Händel’s Alcina, which is a breakthrough in the field of early music so rarely performed in Russia, a modern production of Bizet’s Carmen, Dvořák’s Rusalka, along with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Mazeppa, which has not been performed in Perm since 1983, and which made its highly acclaimed debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York, USA) in January 2008.

The Opera is the recipient of the prestigious national The Golden Masque award for Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (1996) and Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame (1998).

In 1999 a group of Perm directors won the highest National State Award in Russia for mounting a cycle of operas based on Pushkin lyrics and called Pushkin in Opera.

It has become a part of the Perm opera performing tradition that some world and Russian premieres of operatic rarities take place at the Perm Theatre.

The Tchaikovsky Perm State Ballet of Russia is now widely recognized as being one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world. Ballet came into its own there with the institution of a permanent company in the mid 1920’s. A performance of Giselle opened the first ballet season in Perm in 1926.

The city has an honorable place in ballet history: it was the home of Sergei Diaghilev and the famous Kirov Ballet was evacuated from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during World War II. There have been close links between the two companies since then, which has greatly influenced the Perm performing tradition. With a company of 80 dancers, its current repertoire features ballet’s most-treasured classics as well as the works by contemporary choreographers, such as Vladimir Vasiliev, Oleg Vinogradov, Radu Poklitaru, Tatyana Baganova, Yuri Possokhov and Alexei Miroshnichenko.

The Company is unique in that it draws all of its dancers from its own school, which is one of the most prestigious training institutions for ballet in Russia.

It has become a tradition to do co-productions on the Perm stage with choreographers, directors and set designers from Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and the U.K. Choreographic versions of Swan Lake (2005) mounted by the legendary ballerina Natalia Makarova (USA) and Le Corsaire (2008) by Vasiliy Medvedev (Germany) are perfect examples of such a highly favorable artistic collaboration.

The Perm Ballet has also brought its new versions of the magical productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides and Giselle.

Traditionally, Perm is the center for holding an Open Russian Ballet competition Arabesque supervised by the great ballet masters and former Bolshoi magnificent dancers Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova.

Recent tours of both opera and ballet included engagements in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and the USA.


Music in Britain

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries English musicians had a great reputation in Europe, both for their talent and for their originality. It was their experiments in keyboard music which helped to form the base from which grew most of the great harpsi­chord and piano music. William Byrd was the most distinguished English composer of this time, and his name is still widely known.

In the centuries which followed, England produced no composers of world rank except for Purcell in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and Elgar in the twentieth century. Today, however, many people believe that there has been a reflowering of English music, and that the compositions of some contemporary compos­ers will live on after their deaths. The music of Michael Tippett, Benjamin Britten and William Walton is performed all over the world.

Benjamin Britten was not modern in the musical sense of the word, but he was modern in his attitude towards his public. He has been called a 'people's composer' because he composed music, particularly operas and choral works, that can be sung by ordinary people and by children. Some of his operas, such as Noyes Fludde (Noah's Flood) are performed in churches every year, and people from the surrounding area sing and act in them. The festival which he started in his little home town, Aldeburg, on the North Sea coast of Suffolk, has become one of the most important musical festivals in Europe. Benjamin Britten's music, however, is traditionally compared with the works of many of the younger generation of composers.

The music of composers like Peter Maxwell Davies, Richard Rodney Benett, John Tavener, and Andrew Lloyd Webber are having considerable influence and popularity abroad. It is significant that Richard Rodney Benett is a very fine trumpeter and once played the piano in a jazz band. The dividing lines between serious music on the one hand and jazz, pop and folk music on the
other, are becoming less and less clear, and the influence that they are having on one another is increasing. Many twentieth-century British composers, including Vaughan Williams, Tipettand Britten have been attracted and influenced by old English folk songs. Most musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, like Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Sunset Boulevard are still hits staged in the best theatres of England, the United States and other countries.



Musical theatre

Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called simply, " musicals ". Musicals are performed all around the world. They may be presented in large venues, such as big budget West End and Broadway theatre productions in London and New York City, or in smaller Fringe Theatre, Off-Broadway or regional productions, on tour, or by amateur groups in schools, theatres and other performance spaces. In addition to Britain and North America, there are vibrant musical theatre scenes in many countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Some famous musicals include Show Boat, Oklahoma!, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, Hair, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, and The Producers.

Definitions: the three main components of a musical are the music, the lyrics, and the book. The book of a musical refers to the story of the show – in effect its spoken (not sung) lines; however, "book" can also refer to the dialogue and lyrics together, which are sometimes referred to (as in opera) as the libretto (Italian for “little book”). The music and lyrics together form the score of the musical. The interpretation of the musical by the creative team heavily influences the way that the musical is presented. The creative team includes a director, a musical director and usually a choreographer. A musical's production is also creatively characterized by technical aspects, such as set, costumes, stage properties, lighting, etc. that generally change from production to production (although some famous production aspects tend to be retained from the original production, for example, Bob Fosse's choregraphy in Chicago). The 20th century "book musical" has been defined as a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story, with serious dramatic goals, that is able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter. The material for musicals is often original, but many musicals are adapted from novels (Wicked and Man of La Mancha), plays (Hello, Dolly!), classic legends (Camelot), historical events (Evita) or films (The Producers and Hairspray). On the other hand, many familiar musical theatre works have been the basis for musical films, such as The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast and Chicago. India produces numerous musical films, referred to as "Bollywood" musicals, and Japan produces Anime-style musicals. Another recent genre of musicals, called "jukebox musicals" (Mamma Mia!), weaves songs written by (or introduced by) a popular artist or group into a story – sometimes based on the life or career of the person/group in question

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born 22 March 1948) is an English composer of musical theatre, the elder son of William Lloyd Webber and also the brother of the renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber started composing at the age of six and published his first piece at the age of nine.

Lord Lloyd-Webber has achieved great popular success, with several musicals that have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, two film scores, and a Latin Requiem Mass. He has also gained a number of honours, including a knighthood in 1992, followed by a peerage, seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, seven Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs, notably "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, "Memory" from Cats, and "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals. His company, the Really Useful Group, is one of the largest theatre operators in London.

Producers in several parts of the UK have staged productions, including national tours, of Lloyd Webber's musicals under licence from the Really Useful Group.


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