At the Bolshoi theatre: a place deserving its reputation!

At the Bolshoi theatre: a place deserving its reputation!
19 May 2016

The Bolshoi theatre is a world-renowned music hall and one of Moscow’s main landmarks. As a classical music enthusiast and in my current situation, which involves wearing two hats, that of a Russian language student and that of a tourist, I thought that missing Bolshoi would be somehow inexcusable. I was right, the place is both grand and magic!

Bolshoi theatre background

The Bolshoi’s story started exactly 240 years ago when the Moscow-based Prince Urusov was granted by Empress Catherine the Great the privilege of organizing, for the period of 10 years, shows, masquerades, balls and other entertainment. As a consequence, in 1780, a privately owned institution opened its doors to the public on Petrovka street in central Moscow. After some changes in the ownership of the business, by the early 19th century, the establishment became part of the ensemble of Imperial theatres and was thus managed by officials in St Petersburg and by Moscow’s governor. Soon after, the artists lost their theatre due to a fire which left the company without their own scene for about 20 years. Completed by 1825, the new imposing building on Teatralniy square was equally nearly destroyed by a fire only 30 years later. Thereafter, reconstruction works took place at the theatre on several occasions and the last one saw the building closed between 2005 and 2011. It is at this moment that the New Scene of Bolshoi theatre was inaugurated, while the Historic Building was renovated. Today, both buildings welcome the public in what is undoubtedly a world-class institution devoted primarily to ballet but also to opera and other classical music performances.

New and Historic Scene

Both Historic and the New scenes of Bolshoi theatre are worth visiting and fans of classical music will not be disappointed of the quality of the performances. For those not particularly keen on this kind of art, a guided visit to the building may be a more acceptable option. If you are still not convinced on whether or not it is worth going to the Bolshoi, you may check the media and virtual tour content available at

If you are willing to see the world-famous Bolshoi ballet troupe, think of purchasing your tickets a couple of months before the performance. Russians are fervent ballet fans and tickets are sold quickly after their release. Opera tickets are often available even on the day of the performance.

I first went to Bolshoi theatre to see Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula. This is a light and happy-ending opera in 2 acts set in Switzerland in which, after some misunderstandings occasioned by the main character’s somnambulism, she finally manages to marry the man of her choice. In short, no long suffering or death is involved. It goes without saying that the performance of the artists was great and the stage was beautifully set.


This blog was brought to you by Garbis, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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