Bolshoi Theatre - most important information
Bolshoi Theatre is a historically important theatre situated in Moscow and was initially designed by Joseph Bove to hold ballet and opera manifestations. This is home for Bolshoi Ballet and Opera, the two biggest companies in this field of entertainment, with over 200 dancers and over 1000 performers. With all that Bolshoi Theatre is renowned all over the world for such brilliant ballet dancers as Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev, Galina Ulanova, Maris Liepa. The main building of the theatre, rebuilt and renovated several times during its history, is a landmark of Moscow and Russia and its final renovation was held in 2011. Furthermore, today while visiting the theatre you can enjoy three stages: Historic Stage, New Stage and Beethoven Hall, and Boris Pokrovsky Chamber Stage.
The Bolshoi theatre history
The history of this theatre is very rich and colorful. It dates to the times when the ruler of Russia was Catherine II and the theatre's first name was Petrovsky. This building saw daylight for the first time on the 30. December 1780. During the years this building was burned on many occasions and this Bolshoi is the fourth one that has been built. That being said the final reopening was held on August 20, 1856, during the coronation of Tsar Alexander II. As well as that, a new stage for the Bolshoi Theatre called the New Stage, went into service on 29 November 2002, constructed to the left of the theatre's historic main stage. All of this shows the great importance of this theatre and its cultural significance. As you can predict, this theatre was home to many significant premieres such as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Maid of Pskov
, with Feodor Chaliapin singing the role of Ivan the Terrible, Modest Mussorgsky's one version of Boris Godunov
was given on 16 December 1888. and Dmitri Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
in 1935.Tickets and Opening Hours
Tickets - The Bolshoi Theatre is world-famous and attracts large numbers of tourists. As a result, prices can be much higher than in other Russian theatres. This is especially the case for ballet, where prices are comparable to those for performances in the West. For local citizens, concerts and operas are still relatively affordable, with prices ranging from 100 rubles (≈$1.5) (for students, for balcony seats for matinée performances) to 15,000 rubles (≈$230) (for seats in the orchestra or stalls). You may purchase tickets online using the official website
. We recommend you check availability as early as possible. Tickets go on sale 3 months in advance. You should know that the "New stage" is a little bit cheaper.
You may visit the theatre during the Bolshoi backstage tour. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you may join the group-guided excursions organized by the theatre. A 1-hour tour starts at 11.30, and the group size is limited to 20 people. Guided tours in Russian start at 11:00 a.m., in English at 11:30 a.m. We recommend you come in advance (45 min to 1 hour earlier). Also, you can arrange some personal tours which are longer and more personal.
What should you know before visiting
- When buying tickets, be sure to check the hall layout. There are places where visibility is limited to 50%. A perfect choice could be the seats on the 1st and 2nd gallery circles close to the center. You'll need to select the first row.
- Pay attention to the children's age limit. At the Bolshoi, the rules are quite strict. You can bring your 6+ age child to an afternoon performance and 10+ age child to the evening event.
- The dress code is not so strict these days. The Bolshoi Theatre does not impose any specific requirements unless you do not go to extremes. Thus they will not allow men wearing shorts into the auditorium.
How to get to the Bolshoi Theatre?
You can get to the Bolshoi Theatre: via metro - take the metro to Teatralnaya (Bolshoi Theatre exit) or Okhotnyi ryad (Theatre Square exit) or via car:
- Mokhovaya Street: If you are on Mokhovaya Street keep driving straight ahead, not turning off it, till you reach Theatre Square where the Bolshoi Theatre is situated.
- Tverskaya Street: If you are moving down Tverskaya, in the direction of the center, you will automatically find yourself on Teatralnyi Proezd Street leading to the Bolshoi Theatre.
- Petrovka Street: If you are on the Petrovka, which is a one-way street, you will be able to drive right up to the Theatre.
Interesting facts about Bolshoi Theatre
- Even though St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire for a long time, Russian monarchs often attended performances at the Bolshoi Theater. The Bolshoi was also a traditional stage to celebrate the coronations of the emperors.
- A debut on the big stage of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky took place here - the composer conducted the opera Cherevichki in 1887. Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake premiered at the theatre on 4 March 1877.
- It was from the Bolshoi Theatre stage that the formation of a new country – the USSR – was proclaimed on December 30, 1922.
- Throughout the Second World War, only one bomb fell into the building of the Bolshoi Theater. The building was disguised as an ordinary residential building.
- The rebuilding and renovation cost was $1.1 billion sixteen times the initial estimate. In 2009 prosecutors alleged the lead contractor was paid three times for the same work.