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Best Russian Drama Theatres
April 3, 2006 14:37

Tovstonogov Big Drama Theatre (St.-Petersburg)
Maliy Drama Theatre (St.-Petersburg)
Lensovet Theatre (St.-Petersburg)
Komissarzhevskaya Drama Theatre (St. - Petersburg)
Akimov Comedy Theatre (St. - Petersburg)
Pushkin Drama Theatre
Moscow Drama Theatre on Taganka (Moscow)
Moscow Academic Theatre of Satire (Moscow)
Lenkom Theatre (Moscow)
Theatre of Russian Army (Moscow)
Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre
Moscow Theatre Na Yugo-Zapade (Theatre in South-West)
Satirikon Theatre (Moscow)
Sovremennik Theatre (Moscow)
Moscow Variety Theatre (Moscow)
Pyotr Fomenko Studio (Moscow)
Mayakovsky Theater (Moscow)
Oleg Tabakov's Theatre (Moscow)
Jewish Theatre Shalom (Moscow)
Luna Theatre (Moscow)

Tovstonogov Big Drama Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

Tovstonogov Big Drama Theatre is deservedly considered one of the best drama theatres in Russia. Russian and world classics of drama along with innovative works by contemporary playwrights are on the repertoire.

The brightest pages in the history of the theatre are associated with the name of G.A. Tovstonogov, who was the theatre's leading stage director for over 30 years (from 1956 to 1989). He was the one to stage spectacles which proved glorified masterpieces of theatrical culture. 'Idiot'(1957), 'Philistines' (1966), "Hanuma" (1972), "Story of a Horse" (1975), "Uncle Vania" (1982) and other spectacles are among his best productions. A gifted teacher, he also brought up a whole galaxy of legendary actors, such as O. V. Basilashvili, T. V. Doronina, K. Y. Lavrov, E. A. Lebedev, L. I. Makarova, I. M. Smoktunovski, S. Y. Yursky and many others. Thanks to Tovstonogov's prominent gift the theatre gained international acclaim.

For almost hundred years the theatre has been located in the most splendid building, which is worth special attention.

Maliy Drama Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

In 1973 Yefim Padve, Tovstonogov's student, became the director of the Maliy Theatre and invited young stage directors and playwrights to work here. New productions remarkable for their original scenic language attained immediate popularity with the public. Most favorite spectacles were those staged by Lev Dodin: "Highwayman" by Karl Chapek, 'Tattooed Rose" by Tennessee Williams, "Live and Remember" by V. Rasputin, etc. The spectacle "House" after the same name novel by F. Abramov was a riot in Russia.

Lev Dodin has been the art director of the theatre since 1983. He has staged dozens of spectacles which have brought worldwide fame to the theatre.

The company of Maliy Drama Theatre tours a lot introducing tendencies of Russian theatrical art to the audiences of Europe, Southern and Northern America and South-Eastern Asia. In 1998 the theatre got the Theatre of Europe status.

Lensovet Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

Talented stage directors B.M. Sutskevich, N.P. Akimov and I.P. Vladimirov heading the theatre in various years, molded its inimitable style, one after another leaving traces of their personalities and artistic gifts. The classical productions of the theatre include 'Lefthander' by Leskov, 'Shadows' by Saltykov-Shchedrin, 'Case' by Sukhovo-Kobylin and other spectacles.

The theatre is currently working under the directorship of Vladislav Pazi, who has staged a number of spectacles very popular with the audience. These are "A King, a Queen and a Jack" after Nabokov's novel, "Door to the Next Room" after the play by Eikburn, Edward Gaidai's play "Brother Rabbit in the Wild West", "Lovely Sunday for a Picnic" by Tennessee Williams, etc.

Extremely versatile repertoire includes both classical plays and bold experimental shows, staged by Pazi and some other directors such as Yuri Butusov ("Waiting for Godot", "Bedbug" and "Caligula"), Oleg Levakov ("The Tram of "Desire") and Gennady Trostyanetsky ("Karenin. Anna. Vronsky.")

Komissarzhevskaya Drama Theatre (St.- Petersburg)

The concert hall "Passage" hosted brilliant performances of Vera Koimissarzhevskaya's Theatre in 1904 - 1906. The best plays by Mikhail Gorkiy, Anton Chekhov and Henrik Ibsen were on the repertoire. Unfortunately, after the leading actress' death the company broke up.

The theatre was revived in 1942 under the name of the Blockade Theatre with the premiere "Russian People' after Konstantin Simonov's play. The spectacles in the city blockaded by fascists started and finished early in the afternoon, so that the public and the actors could get home before the curfew. When strafing attacks started the actors and viewers ran to bomb shelters and waited for the end of the attack to go on with the spectacles afterwards. The heroic company also toured around war hospitals and at the front-line to encourage Russian soldiers.

In 1966 Ruben Agamirzyan became the theatre's director for a quarter of a century. Under his directorship the company became one of the most popular theatres of St.-Petersburg.

Today the troupe tours all over the world giving spectacles based on Russian and foreign classics as well as plays by contemporary authors.

The most popular spectacles are: "A Month in the Country" by Turgenev, Shakespeare's "Tempest", "The Lady of the Camellias" by Dumas, "Fool Balakirev" by Gorin, etc.

Akimov Comedy Theatre (St.- Petersburg)

Comedian troupes performed on the stage of Theatrical Hall long before the revolution of 1917. In 1929 the building was given to the young Theatre of Satire and Comedy, which became famous due to Nikolai Akimov, an outstanding stage director and artist who headed the theatre from 1935.

Akimov worked together with a no less brilliant person, the playwright Eugenie Shvarts who was by universal acknowledgment 'the soul of the theatre'. Spectacles after Shvarts' plays "Shadow" and "Dragon" originated a new scenic genre, that of a philosophical tale for grown-ups.

Other directors following Akimov carried on his great undertaking. The spirit of the theatre and its splendid troupe made Akimov Comedy Theatre well-known far beyond St.-Petersburg.

Today the theatre's public enjoys its productions after classics and modern playwrights, with the most popular of them being "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wild, "Zoika's Flat" by Mikhail Bulgakov, "Dear Liar" by Jerome Kilty, and "I Ought To Be in Pictures" by Neil Simon.

Pushkin Drama Theatre

Officially the theatre was born in 1950. In various years the theatre was under art directorship of actors Vasiliy Vanin, Boris Babochkin, Mikhail Tumanov, Boris Ravenskih, Boris Tolmazov, Yury Yeremin and finally Roman Kozak who is presently heading the theatre.

The theatre's building with the main stage belongs to the 18th century. There is also a minor stage giving place to younger actors and stage directors.

The theatre can be proud of excellent spectacles, such as 'Bespridannitsa/ A Fortuneless Girl', Viy, Kot v Sapogah/ Puss in Boots, Nochi Kabirii/Nights of Cabiria', 'Revizor/Inspector' and 'Nedosyagayemaya/Unattainable' (Vera Alentova starring).

The spectacle for children 'Alenkiy Tsvetochek/Scarlet Flower' still enjoys love of the young spectators.

Moscow Drama Theatre on Taganka (Moscow)

The Theatre on Taganka is associated with the names of such prominent stage directors as Anatoly Efros, Nikolai Gubenko and Yuri Lyubimov, who is presently heading the glorified theatre.

The major creative line of Theatre on Taganka is the so-called poetic theatre: the repertoire boasts of spectacles based on works by Voznesensky and other poets who were the heroes of their time. The legendary spectacle of this theatre was undoubtedly "Hamlet" with Vladimir Vysotsky starring. The spirit of the great actor and poet is still pervading the Taganka theatre.

Valery Zolotukhin, Semen Farada, Leonid Filatov and many other brilliant actors shined on this stage. The splendid actors and original staging have brought world fame to the theatre.

The Taganka theatre remains one of the favourites of Moscow public. Its present repertoire offers "Electra" after Sophocles, "Doctor Zhivago" after Boris Pasternak, "Youngster" after Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "Master and Margarita" after Mikhail Bulgakov and many other sophisticated productions.

Moscow Academic Theatre of Satire (Moscow)

The history of the theatre goes back to the pre-revolutionary years, when it was the circus of the Nikitins brothers. Only in 1963 the building of the theatre was reconstructed and shaped more like a theatre rather than a circus.

The repertoire of the Satire Theatre attracts public of all tastes, all ages, all times and all nations. The best Russian actors embellish this stage: Alisa Freindlikh, Oleg Basilashvili, Alexander Shirvindt, Mikhail Derzhavin, Vera Vasilieva and many other splendid actors.

The most favored gem of the theatre is Spartak Mishulin's spectacle "The Kid and Carlson Who Lives on a Roof" after Astrid Lindgren's book.

During the break theatre-lovers might be interested to visit the Theatre Museum opened here from May 2002.

Lenkom Theatre (Moscow)

Lenkom Theatre is regarded by many as 'the most successful theatre' in Moscow. It won't be an exaggeration to say that no other theatre can be proud of such a great constellation of stars acting on its stage: Inna Churikova, Leonid Bronevoy, Armen Dzhigarhanyan, Nikolay Karachentsov, Oleg Yankovsky, Alexander Zbruev, Alexander Abdulov, Elena Shanina, Dmitry Pevtsov and many other actors beloved by several generations of Russian audience. The theatre is headed by the famous stage and film director Mark Zakharov.

The productions of Lenkom, both classics and modern plays, stand out with the brilliant acting and stage direction, pathbreaking findings and trailblazing art techniques.

For over 20 years the public have been under the spell of the rock-opera 'Yunona & Avos', a touching story of love of a Russian count and a Spanish girl, which has entered the range of classics. The part of the courageous Russian traveler was most brilliantly performed by Nikolay Karachentsov.

Mark Zakharov has staged a number of strikingly profound and expressive spectacles, among them 'Till', "A Mad Day, or Figaro's Marriage", "Thousand Days of Anna Bolein", "A Barbarian and A Heretic'. Many spectacles, which have glorified the theatre, Zakharov staged together with Grigory Gorin.

Theatre of Russian Army (Moscow)

The Russian Army Theatre (once Soviet Army Theatre) is the biggest drama theatre not only in Moscow but in Europe. The Big Hall seats 1100 viewers, while the Small Hall admits 400 spectators. The Big Stage is 6 meters wider than that of the Bolshoi (Big) Theatre. Only La Scala stage is bigger than the Army Theatre's stage.

The Army Theatre has offered spectacles on the battle history of the country, with real land battleships and gigantic ship models going about the enormous stage. The directors who work here have to make use of these huge dimensions - that's the foremost marker they are judged by. In this sense the most outstanding production is the monumental spectacle 'Oresteya' staged by German director P. Stein. Another success was 'Don Juan' by young V. Shamirov who seated the spectators on a rotating circle right on the stage.

Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre

One of the most famous theatres in Russia, Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre was founded by the legendary stage directors, the creators of Russian drama school Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. From 2000 the theatre has been directed by the People's Artist of Russia Oleg Tabakov.

The most well-known stage productions of the theatre are The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov, The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, and The Light Taste of Infidelity (Lyogki privkus izmeny), a dramatization of Valery Iskhakov's novel.

The repertoire consists of classical works and those by contemporary authors, such Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Pavel Kogout, Svetlana Ssavina, and others.

The theatre visitors have a unique opportunity of observing the memorial cabinet of Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and make-up rooms of Konstantin Stanislavsky and Oleg Efremov, prominent actors and stage directors who played an important role in the history of Russian theatre.

From 1996 the Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre has been considered one of the treasures of the cultural heritage of Russian Federation.

Moscow Theatre Na Yugo-Zapade (Theatre in South-West)

The Moscow Theatre in South-West created in 1977 was the acknowledged leader of studio theatre movement of the 1970s - 1980s and remains one of the symbols of the capital's cultural life. The art director and main stage director of the theatre is the honoured artist of Russia Valeriy Belyakovich.

Shakespeare and Molliere, Gogol and Chekhov acquire new sounding on this stage, in modern rhythms, floodlights and music. Images created by Mikhail Bulgakov, Evgeniy Shvarts, Vasiliy Shukshin and Venedikt Yerofeyev find a thrilling expression here. For many spectators this theatre has become the venue of the first meting with foreign drama classics of the century, including works by Eugene Ionesco, Albert Camus, Edward Albee and Jean Paul Sartre.

For a long time the theatre had to live a semi-underground life. In 1982 it was on the verge of closing after staging Ionesco's play "Rhinoceroses". New times of freedom brought the theatre international fame. Since 1986 it has been a regular participant of numerous festivals and forums, well-known to theatre-lovers of Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Finland, Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Holland, Germany, the USA and Japan.

Satirikon Theatre (Moscow)

Satirikon Theatre still owes much to its major mastermind and encourager Arkadiy Raikin, a genius actor of the 20th century. His influence on the theatre's life was so enormous that the company was soon named "Raikin's Theatre". Daring satirical productions unveiling burning but silenced topics, versatile repertoire, the actors' talents and certainly Arkadiy Raikin's charm made the theatre extremely popular with the public.

Under the directorship of Konstantin Raikin, the son of Arkadiy Raikin, the theatre has developed certain new features yet it still has much in common with the theatre of miniatures of Arkadiy Raikin: this is first of all, the untiring creative questing and respect for the audience.

Among the most well-known actors are Natalia Vdovina, Vladimir Mikhailovsky, Denis Sukhanov, Maksim Averin and others. Konstantin Raikin stages many spectacles and often stars in them.

The theatre' credo is vivid expressiveness, music and plastique basis, grotesque, powerful energy attack on the spectators along with the methods of psychological theatre.

The repertoire of the theatre consists mainly of foreign drama, akin to the dynamic personality of the art director: these are creations by Shakespeare and Molliere, Brecht and Kafka, Krommelink and Goldman, Goldoni and Rostand, Murdoch and Sueskind. Dramatic show verges on high tragedy and farce neighbors philosophic parable.

Sovremennik Theatre (Moscow)

Sovremennik was founded in 1956 by a group of young soul-mate actors who graduated from the school-studio of the Moscow Art Theatre.

The leaders of the group were Oleg Efremov, Galina Volchek, Evgeniy Evstigneyev, Oleg Tabakov, Igor Kvasha and Lilia Tolmacheva - now renowned classics of Russian scenic art.

From the very first years Sovremennik impressed the public with original stage productions. The repertoire was based on works by modern authors, such as Viktor Rozov, Alexander Volodin, Vasili Aksenov, William Gibson, etc.

The theatre has toured much and such spectacles as "Forever Alive", "Elder Sister", "The Two on a Seesaw", and "Always on Sale" have made real classics of theatre art.

From over one hundred spectacles staged here since the appearance of the theatre almost two thirds were written by authors for "Sovremennik" specially. The theatre has gained international fame and it is the only foreign theatre granted with "Drama Desk Award", the American national theatre prize.

Moscow Variety Theatre (Moscow)

Moscow State Variety Show is well-known far beyond Moscow. The famous stage hosts spectacles with stars of Russian theatre: Inna Churikova, Gennady Hazanov, Oleg Basilashvili, Anatoly Ravikovich and many other notable actors.

The concept 'theatre of stars' molded here from the first years of the Variety Theatre's activity. Maria Mironova, Alexander Menaker, Alisa Freindlikh, Vitaly Solomin, Vera Alentova, Evgenia Simonova, Alexander Shirvindt, Valery Zolotukhin, Alexander Abdulov performed on this stage.

The theatre has staged a number of outstanding productions, among them "The Little Nothings of Life" and "Small Tragedies" by Gennady Hazanov, "Mixed Feelings" by Leonid Trushkin and "Good Bye, Marlen, and Hello!" by Gennady Shaposhnikov, the spectacle dedicated to Marlene Dietrich who gave the only concert in Russia in 1964 in this very Variety Theatre.

One of the most popular productions today is the musical "We Will Rock You" created together with the musicians of the legendary "Queen".

The Variety Theatre also gives spectacles for children.

Pyotr Fomenko Studio (Moscow)

It is one of the newly born theatres of Moscow: officially is was open in 1993 and got its new building in 2000. Most of the spectacles performed here have been staged in the recent years by People's Artist of Russia Pyotr Fomenko and other talented stage directors.

The theatre is regularly filled up with the master's students: today there are three generations of them, and many of them are famed already, such as Galina Tunina, Ksenia and Polina Kutyopova, Kirill Pirogov, Karen Badalov, Irina Pegova, etc.

The repertoire is mainly based on Russian classics. Today the Fomenko Studio is an experimental theatre of intensive creative research drawing inspiration from Russian classics. The etude and chamber atmosphere remains one of the major stylistic principles of the spectacles.

Mayakovsky Theater (Moscow)

Mayakovsky Theatre is one of the most popular theatres of Moscow nowadays. This is mainly due to the galaxy of stars acting here: Igor Kostolevsky, Evgenia Simonova, Alexander Lazarev, Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Mikhail Filippov and others.

The repertoire is versatile, with many old spectacles. Till date the theatre gives spectacles staged by A. Goncharov: "Victim of the Age", "Theatre Romance", "Transparent Apples, or Truth is Good…", as well as "Fruit of Education" by Pyotr Fomenko and "Puppet House ("Nora")" and "Synthesizer of Love" by L. Heifets.

The main stage director of the theatre now is S. Artsibashev. He has created several stage productions, among them "Marriage", "The Karamazovs", "Banquets", etc.

In most cases the spectacles are produced according to the 'non-repertory' scheme - that is, mostly hanging upon the star actors.

Oleg Tabakov's Theatre (Moscow)

The Tabakov Theatre opened in 1986 was one of the first studios of the country to get subsidies from the government.

A galaxy of brilliant actors was brought up within these years: Evdokia Germanova, Marina Zudina, Vladimir Mashkov, Evgeny Mironov, Andrey Smolyakov, and others.

The theatre repertoire now includes around thirty plays, the authors being I. Goncharov, A. Gorky, F. Dostoyevsky, T. Mann, A. Vampilov, and, of course, contemporary domestic and foreign playwrights.

The troupe consists of thirty actors, among them are well-known names, such as Sergey Bezrukov, Sergey Belyaev, Vitaly Egorov, Alexander Mokhov, Mikhail Khomyakov and others. The theatre tours much around Russia and abroad.

Jewish Theatre Shalom (Moscow)

Shalom Theatre is the only professional Jewish theatre in Russia. It was opened in 1988.

The theatre attracts public's attention to the burning issues of the life of Jews in Russia and abroad. The spectacles are versatile in theme and artistic expression. They always abound with music scenes, dances and Jewish humour, of course.

Shalom Theatre gives spectacles in the Russian language with some inclusions of Yiddish. The theatre appeals to people of various nations who are interested in the old and modern Jewish culture.

Shalom Theatre tours much in Russia and CIS countries, as well as in Europe and America.

Luna Theatre (Moscow)

The Luna (Moon) Theatre stands for romantic style and emphasized theatricality. The theatre works in the genre of fantastic realism, psychologically elaborate and veracious.

The theatre is headed by popular actor and stage director Sergey Prokhanov, who offers the viewers his original versions of the well-known works of literature, giving an intriguing interpretation of imaginary and real historic events.

The theatre enjoys utter popularity among Moscow theatre-goers. It is the theatre of romantic fancy, profound feelings, joy, youth, love and dream. It is a theatre of vivid expression, addressing its spectacles to those who love the spontaneity of play and scenic effects and appreciate the artistry and skill of the actors and stage director.

Tags: Russian drama theatres     

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