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Musical Comedy Theater of Petersburg
July 21, 2017 19:33

The entire history of the Musical Comedy Theater is inextricably linked with Saint Petersburg. Not by mere chance it is located in one of the city’s most beautiful and old places, which was designed by genius Carlo Rossi. Not far from the Nevsky Prospect, there is the Square of Arts, and the Grand Hotel Europa, the Museum of Artist Isaac Brodsky, the Art Cafe “Stray Dog”, the Mussorgsky Opera and Ballet Theater, the Russian Museum, the Ethnography Museum, and the Shostakovich Philharmonics, all of these adjacent to the Square.  It is in this worthy environment that the Theater of Musical Comedy is located.

Its building designed by great architect Charles Rossi and once presented by the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I to an actress of the Alexandrinsky Theater, resembles a royal residency. Modest and charming outside, it amazes with the abundance of decor, velvet and gold in its interior design. After a fire in 1910, the building was reconstructed according to the original drafts, and from then onwards became an operetta house. On the ground floor, there was a cabaret for folksy public.

In 1929, the newly founded Music Hall settled in the theater. Young Leonid Utesov with his Thea Jazz was one of its most remarkable performers. The troupe included the best Petersburg voices and actors that could be found. The mansion was frequented by actors from Kharkov, whose performances were extremely popular and invariably sold-out.

In general, in the 1930s, the Musical Comedy Theater was famous for its magnificent tradition of creating special, Petersburg operettas. Of course, there also happened to be political performances, which cursed the imperialist predators and praised the Soviet working people. But there were also Lehar's "Merry Widow" and Strauss's "Bat".

This theater could have been a usual operetta house, if not for the war. During the siege of Leningrad, the Musical Comedy Theater was the only theater not evacuated from the city. It showed two performances a day, mornings and evenings. Moreover, the troupe with its stage directors delivered new productions with incredible speed. The troupe presented two magnificent premieres, namely "The Three Musketeers" by Louis Varney and "Marica" by Imre Kalman, having kept in the repertoire most of the operettas from the last pre-war season.

Unfortunately, the air bombardment of blockaded Saint Petersburg kept on too and in December 1941, a building next to the theater was blown out. The Musical Comedy Theater was damaged too. In spite of the fact, performances went on and on, along with preparation to move to the empty Alexandrinsky Theater. Even a bomb could not stop the cultural life in the Musical Comedy Theatre.

The modern Saint Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy traditionally pleases the audience with its high-level art and mastery. The St. Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy is rightly proud of the pleiad of brilliant operetta masters who performed on its stage in the 1930s-1960s. Nowadays the theater boasts one of Russia’s best troupes. According to a number of foreign stage directors, who have staged performances for about three years on this stage, lots of the actors of the Musical Comedy Theater perfectly hold up to the European standards of acting. The theater group is proud of the renowned musical masters of the older generation, such as the People’s Artists of Russia, Z. Vinogradova, V. Vasilyeva, and V. Krivonos. They keep up the theater’s traditions and hand on the torch to the younger generations. In August 1996, the Small Theater Hall was opened; the classics of musical comedy for children and adults are performed on this stage. According to the results of the theatrical season 2012-2013, the stage production The Count of Luxembourg won the Supreme Theater Award of St. Petersburg "Golden Sofit" in four nominations at once.

The Musical Comedy Theater is located at the address 13, Italyanskaya Street, next to the Gostiny Dvor metro station, Saint Petersburg.

Find details on the Theatre’s website

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Musical Comedy Theater of Petersburg Music Theaters Saint Petersburg Theaters   

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