Mikhaylovsky TheatreEdit profile
The theatre was established in 1833 by decree of Tsar Nicholas I.
Before the 1917 Revolution the Mikhailovsky did not have its own company: performances were made either by a French company, hired by Russian Imperial Theatres, or at the end of the century by the Mariinsky Theatre and Alexandrinsky Theatre companies. Most of great French actors were invited to stay at the theatre by the different emperors. So did Jeanne Sylvanie Arnould-Plessy, Rachel Félix, Lucien Guitry, or Sarah Bernhardt, as well as singers (Hortense Schneider). Classical and also contemporary authors were produced to great acclaim in French, like Molière, Victor Hugo, Victorien Sardou, Alexandre Dumas, fils or Jacques Offenbach and were praised by the intelligentsia and the Russian aristocraty, such as Tolstoy or Tchaikovsky.
When the Bolsheviks took power, the French company was forced to leave Russia. Shortly after the Mikhailovsky changed its name to Maly Operny (Maly Opera Theatre). New management and artists followed. In 1920-1930 the Maly Operny established itself as one of the leading experimental stages in Russia, new musical theatre. Shostakovich made his debut at the Maly Operny, Samuil Samosud conducted world premiere performances of Shostakovich's The Nose and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the famous Vsevolod Meyerhold production of The Queen of Spades was staged there, the world premiere of Prokofiev's epic opera War and Peace took place on the theatre's stage on June 12, 1946.
From 1989 to 2007 the theatre bore the name of Modest Mussorgsky, then it returned to the name Mikhaylovsky Theatre.
In 2007 the Russian businessman Vladimir Kekhman sensationally was appointed as a General Director of Theatre. Russian theatre is usually managed by an artistic person, there is no tradition to make clear difference between artistic and administrative management. Thus Kekhman's effort to build effective organisational structures at the Mikhailovsky received controversial reviews from the media. However, when Mr Kekhman donated 1bn roubles for renovation of the building and invited Elena Obraztsova and Farouk Ruzimatov to coordinate the artistic revival of the Mikhailovsky, public opinion changed drastically.
In 2007, Yelena Obraztsova was appointed Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Opera and Farouk Ruzimatov started his work as the Artistic Director of the Mikhailovsky Ballet. As of 2009 both Obraztsova and Ruzimatov hold a seat in the Artistic Committee of the Theatre, while Peter Feranec is Music Director of the Theatre and Michael Messerer is Ballet Master in Chief.
The Mikhailovsky Ballet has made its London debut in July 2008 on the London Coliseum stage. The short season led to a nomination for the Best Foreign Dance Company Award at National Dance Awards 2008. Subsequently, NYCB has won the prize with a small lead.