The Bolshoi Theatre of Russia has always been, and will remain, one of the main symbols of our state and its culture. It is Russia’s main national theatre, a bearer of the traditions of Russian music culture and a centre of world music culture, the spearhead of the development of the country’s performing arts.
Chef-d’?uvres of Russian 19th-20th century music theatre occupy a leading place in its repertoire. The principles governing the formation of this repertoire may be divided provisionally into three categories. The Bolshoi presents to its public the Russian classics, the 20th century included, western classics, likewise inclusive of recognized 20th century masterpieces, and specially commissioned works. In recent Bolshoi history, there are several examples of the latter: namely, Leonid Desyatnikov’s opera The Children of Rosenthal, the ballets — Misericordes produced by Christopher Wheeldon, Leonid Desyatnikov’s Lost Illusions produced by Alexander Ratmansky, Laurent Garnier’s dance piece And then One Thousand Years of Peace produced by Angelin Preljocaj with the participation of the latter’s Company.
The Theatre tries to ensure continuity between generations by promoting the artistic development of young people with talent (thus the Youth Opera Programme has been set up to foster and perfect the skills of opera stars of the future). In order to be able to produce productions to the highest standards for presentation at home and at the world’s leading opera and ballet venues, the Bolshoi Company always keeps itself in good creative trim. Another important direction of the Theatre’s work is to introduce the Russian public to the achievements of the world’s great opera and ballet theatres, as well as to invite guest artists to participate in its own creative endeavors.
The Bolshoi Theatre declares its performances to be accessible to each citizen of Russia — 20% of tickets are sold at reduced price (200 roubles). In addition to which the Bolshoi — Students’ programme is in operation: day students at institutions of higher education can buy a 100 rouble entrance ticket. For each performance on the Historic Stage there are 84 tickets put aside for students, and for each performance on the New Stage — 30 tickets.
The Theatre is a living organism, developing together with the whole of society and in constant search of new creative ideas. At the present stage of development in society, it promotes the formation of new aesthetic priorities in the arts of opera and ballet, particularly in the field of the Russian repertoire.
In addition to satisfying society’s demand for classical works, the Theatre also forms public taste by introducing spectators to the best achievements of world music theatre. To acquaint its public with these achievements is one of the Bolshoi Theatre’s main tasks, and it is in this way that the state carries out its social mission in the sphere of culture.
A modern, competitive theatre should be ahead of the tastes of society, and introduce its home audiences to world music theatre.
To the foreign spectators who come to Moscow specially to attend the Theatre’s performances and who watch its performances when it is on tour abroad, the Bolshoi offers a wide spectrum of the Russian classical legacy and the Bolshoi’s foreign fans come away from these performances imbued with new impressions of the development of the performing arts in Russia.
The Theatre carries out an educative function by performing works rarely found in the repertories of Russian theatres and by inviting cooperation from outstanding soloists, directors and choreographers. To-date, the following directors have worked at the Bolshoi: — Francesca Zambello, Eiumantas Necrosius, Declan Donnellan, Robert Sturua, Peter Konwitschny, Temur Chkheidze, Robert Wilson, Graham Vick, Alexander Sokurov; — and the choreographers Roland Petit, John Neumeier, Christopher Wheeldon, Angelin Preljocaj, Wayne McGregor.
An inherent part of the Theatre’s activities is the presentation of concerts of symphony and chamber works, and of operas in concert performance, thus acquainting the public with works of all music genres.
Now that the Bolshoi Theatre has two stages at its disposal, one of them its legendary Historic Stage which is at last back in action again, it hopes to fulfill its mission with an even greater degree of success, steadily extending the sphere of its influence at home and throughout the world.