Bolshoi Ballet

Private Company active 1 year, 7 months ago

Founded in 1776 by Prince Peter Urusov and Englishman Michael Maddox, the company started by giving performances in a private residence until 1780 when the Petrovka Theatre was acquired and the company began to present plays and operas.

In 1805, the Petrovka Theatre was destroyed by fire and in 1806 the administraion was taken over by the Imperial Government. But it was not until twenty years later that a new theatre on the site, designed by the architect Andrei Mikhailov, opened on 18 January 1825 with a performance of Fernando Sor’s ballet Cendrillon.

This theatre was extensively damaged by fire in 1853 and was reconstructed by the architect Albert Cavos who also built the Mariinsky Theatre and renovated the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Albert Cavos was the son of opera composer Caterino Cavos, a naturalised Russian of Venetiam origin.

The Bolshoi Theatre reopened in 1856 and remained the home of the Bolshoi Ballet and the Bolshoi Opera until 2005 when the theatre closed for reconstruction, which is currently in progress. In the meantime, the ballet and opera companies are housed in the adjacent New Bolshoi Theatre, which was built in a record time of only six months.

The Bolshoi Ballet has given many historic performances in the Bolshoi Theatre, including the premiere of Marius Petipa’s Don Quixote on 14 December 1869, the premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, which took place on Saturday, 4 March 1877, and more recently, the premiere of Yuri Grigorovitch’s legendary production of Spartacus in 1968.

The ballet company has had a succession of distinguished Artistic Directors. Since the 1950s these have included Asaf Messerer, Yuri Grigorovitch, Vladimir Vasiliev, Alexei Fadeyechev and, most recently, Alexei Ratmansky who was succeeded in 2008 by Yuri Burlaka.

The General Director of the Bolshoi Theatre is Anatoly Iksanov.

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