This blog post was updated on July 5, 2019.
On a walking tour of Moscow, we asked our tour guide if the ballet was popular with the young people of the city. He himself had actually attended the ballet the weekend prior and estimated that around 40% of the attendees were of the younger generations. Observations like this one are a good sign for the over 90 theatres of Moscow needing support to survive.
Moscow is known for the performing arts, especially the ballet, making it a highly desired part of the itinerary for tourists. Here are just five of the theatres in Moscow you can look into for a great Russian performance.
Bolshoi Theater: Probably the biggest and the best (hence the name “Bolshoi”), this theatre, which opened in 1776, with white pillars and a classic facade, is a sight to see, even from a tour bus. Inside is even more glorious, especially after a six year renovation that finished in 2011. The Bolshoi is often booked out in advance, so plan your trip early and get tickets when you book your flights to Russia. This is the best place in the city to see a fantastic Russian ballet or opera.
Maly Theater: Right around the corner from the Bolshoi lies the Maly Theater, meaning small theatre. And in comparison to the nearby Bolshoi, the name is quite accurate. The Maly is a drama theatre that opened in Theatre Square in 1824. Today, the focus of the program is on classical heritage plays; those of which are performed by some of over 100 employed actors, its symphony orchestra and choir.
Moscow Art Theater: Founded in 1898, the Moscow Art Theatre was started as a way to contrast the popular melodrama theatre form of the 19th century to a more “naturalistic” style. Today the theatre is located a walk away from the famous Red Square on Tverskaya Street. The theatre includes a main stage, new stage and a small stage for 2-3 performances in a single day.
Lenkom Theater: The Lenkom Theater was formerly known as the Moscow State Theatre, and began productions in 1928 in the building of a former Merchant’s Club. This theatre is known for its experimental nature, run by and for the youth, and especially for being the first theatre in Moscow to host a rock opera in 1981. One reviewer says that the acting at this theatre is always top-notch and with great content and décor.
With so many theatres scattered throughout the city, it shouldn’t be hard for the traveler to experience a night of Russian performance art, whether it be ballet, opera or drama. If wanting to attend the top theatres, however, I do recommend planning in advance.
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