When:Sep 2005 – Jun 2006 (annual)
Housed in Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre alongside the Bolshoi Ballet, the Bolshoi Opera has presented an annual season since 1776. While plans are laid for major – and much needed – renovation, autumn 2003 sees the start of the 228th season.
With one of the most popular of operatic traditions, especially given its continuance virtually intact into the 21st century, the Bolshoi – like its fellow company in St Petersburg, the Kirov – remains one of the most famous opera companies in the world.
While St Petersburg may have seen the majority of premières through the 19th century, the works of Glinka (the father of Russian music), Mussorgsky – at the time heard in arrangements by fellow opera composer Rimsky-Korsakov – Borodin and Tchaikovsky were quickly heard at the Bolshoi, and Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa was premièred there.
Musical traditions were upheld during the Soviet era, and while in the cold, harsh reality of capitalism the Bolshoi Opera has to compete in less favourable circumstances, recent artistic and financial difficulties are hopefully coming to an end. Under the new music director Alexander Vedernikov one hopes that the company has the brightest of futures.
In tandem with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Bolshoi Opera performs a ten-month season from every September to the following June. Expect classics of the Russian repertoire as well as standard Italian and French repertoire and the occasional new work. The Bolshoi Theatre website gives a comprehensive calendar for the whole season.