On March 28, 1776, Empress Catherine II allowed Prince P.V. Urusov to begin construction of a theater building on Petrovka Street in Moscow, which was originally called Petrovsky. But, Urusov himself could not open it, as soon as the building was built burned down. The prince handed over the right to build to the Englishman Michael Maddox, in 1789 the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theater was completed, and on December 30 of the following year, the opening ceremony took place. A few years later, Maddox began to have financial problems, and he decided to transfer the theater to the treasury. Meddox invested almost all of his funds in the construction. To save the businessman from poverty, he was assigned an annual pension of 3, 000 rubles at the direction of Empress Maria Feodorovna.
12 interesting facts about the Bolshoi Theater
- The place where the Bolshoi Theater is located was considered unsuitable for capital construction for a long time, it was too swampy. In addition, it had a bad reputation - according to legend, during the plague of 1603, angry Muscovites killed and buried a criminal here, who, under the guise of a doctor, poisoned people with poisons in order to take possession of their property.
- The Neglinnaya river flowed near the theater, or, as it was also called in Moscow, the Neglinka. Once Muscovites used to catch fish and crayfish in it, but by the beginning of the 19th century, Neglinka had turned into an incredibly dirty rivulet, where sewage from all over the area was dumped. It was decided to "get rid" of it by walled up in an underground pipe. During severe floods, Neglinka reminded of herself, breaking free from underground captivity.
- The building that currently houses the Bolshoi Theater is the fourth in a row. All the previous ones were destroyed by fires, and one of them occurred in 1812, during the war with Napoleon's army. Then most of Moscow burned down, and it had to be rebuilt.
- Despite the fact that the capital of the Russian Empire was in St. Petersburg, the monarchs and members of their families were constant spectators at the Bolshoi Theater, covering a distance of 600 versts for this. Each visit of the imperial family was a great event in the life of the theater.
- The first production of Swan Lake was staged at the Bolshoi Theater in 1877. Due to poor direction, the premiere failed miserably. Nobody believed that all further attempts to "revive" the production would be successful with the audience.
- During the Great Patriotic War, the building of the Bolshoi Theater was disguised as an ordinary residential building. But, during one of the bombings, the theater still suffered: a German shell destroyed part of the facade and the vestibule, but, in general, the building was preserved. Unique crystal chandeliers have accidentally survived, which, shortly before the bombing, were sent for restoration. In 2006, an explosion suddenly thundered in the basement of the theater; it turned out that it was one of the wartime shells.
- Every year, two varieties of tulips are planted in front of the Bolshoi Theater, which were bred by the Dutch breeder Lefeber in the fifties of the last century. During his visit to Moscow, the Dutchman visited the Bolshoi Theater for the ballet "Swan Lake". The performance made such an impression on him that, returning home, he bred two new varieties, which he called the Bolshoi Theater and Galina Ulanova. It is interesting that a few years later the same Derek Lefeber bred a variety "In Memory of Lenin", to the 100th anniversary of the birth of the leader of the world proletariat.
- The building of the Bolshoi Theater can be seen on the modern Russian 100-ruble banknote. In addition, it is depicted on the packaging of chocolate and sweets "Inspiration", which are produced at the Moscow confectionery factory "Red October". Several times in the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, postage stamps were issued on the theme of the Bolshoi Theater.
- The Bolshoi Theater can be called the "homeland" of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The agreement on the creation of the USSR was signed on December 30, 1922 in the theater building.
- The curtain was one of the most recognizable symbols of the Bolshoi Theater in the USSR. It was made in 1955 from gold and silk threads. The curtain area is 500 square meters and the weight is over a ton. the last restoration of the curtain was carried out in 2011. The modern canvas is different from what was in the Soviet Union.
- Theater Square, on which the Bolshoi Theater is located, was originally called Petrovskaya. Then it was renamed Teatralnaya, and since 1919 - Sverdlov Square. And since 1991 it is called Teatralnaya again.
- The troupe of the Bolshoi Theater from October 1941 to October 1943 was evacuated to Kuibyshev. Already in November 1941, posters appeared in the city on the Volga, reporting on the performances of the evacuated theater. At that time, it included such celebrities as the singer Ivan Kozlovsky, ballerina Olga Lepeshinskaya, composer Dmitry Shostakovich. Almost the entire Moscow repertoire was renewed.