To view any photo at full size, click on it. All photos are,
unless stated other wise, copyright
Wayne and Patricia Primeau. All Rights Reserved.
our stay in Moscow we
were fortunate to see a number of operas and ballets at the world
famous Boshoi Theatre. The Bolshoi Theatre Company was founded in 1776.
At first it gave performances in a private home, but it was able to
acquire the Petrovka Theatre in 1780 at which time it began producing
plays and operas.
The Petrovka Theatre was destroyed by fire in 1805. The current
building, designed by Osip Bove, was built in 1825 near the Maly
Theatre, also designed by Bove, on Teatralnaya Ploshads (Theatre
Square) to replace it. At that time, opera and ballet were considered
to be more noble than drama. Thus, the opera house was named the "Grand
Theatre" (Bolshoi in Russian means large or grand), and the drama
theatre was called "Smaller Theatre" (Maly meaning little or small in
The theatre saw its first performance on 18 January 1825. In
1853 a fire caused extensive damage. It was closed for repairs and
reopened in 1856. It was the site of the proclaimation of the new USSR
in 1922. This was probably saved its existence as Lenin, in his desire
to eradicate all vestiages of the middle and upper classes, intended to
have it torn down. During WWII the theatre was damaged in a German
bombing raid, but was promptly repaired as a symbol of the Russian
resolve to endure and triumph. The Bolshoi desperately needs major
structural renovations. It is to be closed for extensive repairs as
soon as sufficient funds have been raised. The theatre's companies will
continue to perform in another venue during the period of
reconstruction, estimated at three years.
The Bolshoi has been the site of many historic premieres
including Tchaikovsky's La Voyavoda and Mazeppa, and Rachmaninoff's
Aleko and Francesca da Rimini.
building itself is
magnificent in its old-world splendor. The hall
is adorned with red and gilt trim throughout. The theatre curtain, a
relic of the Soviet era, is adorned with CCP and the hammar and sickle
insignia in red and gold.
A huge Soviet crest surmounts the "Tzar's Box" (middle photo). A
magnificent chandelier (right-most photo) hangs from the centre of the
celing, which is also decorated with painted figures circling around
The hall is adorned with red and gilt trim throughout.
This photo of the interior of the Opera was downloaded from Wikipedia.
It's use is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
2.0 License, all rights reserved.
is on one side of the front facade of the Theatre. It states that "In
the building of the Bolshoi Theatre the first all-union congress of
Soviets on 30 December 1922 proclaimed the formation of the USSR and
and accepted declarations and agreements regarding the formation of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics".
Teatralnaya Square (right) with the Bolshoi Theatre, showing a statue
of Friedrich Engels (far right) in the foreground, is photographed from
the Metropol Hotel, also a Moscow landmark.
The Hotel Metropol (far right) occupies the other side of Teatralnaya
Square. It was built in 1903 and is the only hotel in Moscow designed
in the art-nouveau style (detail of mosaic decoration in photo at
left). During Soviet times it was poorly maintained and was allowed to
decay into the
dismal state one came to expect of all Soviet hotels. In 1991 extensive
renovations were undertaken to bring it back to its former glory and it
is now one of the most prestigious of Moscow's downtown hotels. The
hotel has 5 floors and 415 rooms, and (2006) accomodation starts at
$370 US per night. The Metropol is a member of Inter-Continental Hotels