Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre
The Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre (Московский Академический Музыкальный Театр имени народных артистов К. С. Станиславского и В. И. Немировича-Данченко) is a musical theatre in Moscow.
The theatre was created on 1 September 1941 when the Stanislavski Opera Theatre and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko’s musical theatre were merged. Although Constantin Stanislavski and Nemirovich worked together at the Moscow Art Theatre (which they had established in 1898), their musical companies operated independently for the two decades of the Interwar period. The present-day theatre is based in its own building with one opera and two chamber music halls in Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, near Pushkin Square. The program traditionally includes opera and ballet by Prokofiev, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and other classical composers, traditional Russian ballet repertoire and experimental ballet works.
The theatre stands on the site of Count Pyotr Saltykov’s estate. Parts of the ground floor of Saltykov’s house survived the fire of 1812 and subsequent expansions and are now integrated in the theatre lobby and the small concert hall. In 1839 Praskovya Saltykova leased the building to Moscow Merchant Society. The Club regularly invited notable musicians; in 1843 it presented concerts by Franz Liszt. Liszt had to play two grand pianos, one by one, so that each quest in a crowded hall could see his face and hands; the audience rewarded Liszt with a three-meter sturgeon and a gypsy choir show. Moscow legend asserts that Liszt’s affection to gypsy art stemmed from the Moscow shows of 1843. In the middle of 19th century the Saltykovs sold the building to Bakhrushin family. The Bakhrushins continued leasing the building to the Merchants’ Club until 1908, when the tenants relocated to a the new building three blocks away. Then the owners leased the building to short-lived theatres, cabarets and a casino, until in 1913 they struck a deal with fashionable impresario Friedrich Thomas. Bakhrushins commissioned Karl Gippius to build a large concert hall adjacent to Saltykov’s mansion; Thomas came in to manage Maxim’s Moscow. The new venue was a hit among the wealthy patrons; quest stars ranged from opera singers to Inayat Khan, the founder of Universal Sufism.
After the 1917 revolution the building, now known as Dmitrovsky Theatre was shared by different theater companies. Stanislavsky moved in the main hall of Dmitrovsky theatre in 1926. Nemirovich theater did not have a permanent base; it shared the stage and training areas with Stanislavsky theatre. In 1938–1939 the whole compound was rebuilt to its current shape; the stalinist facade hides original structures of Saltykov’s ballroom and the 1913 cabaret hall.
In 1937 the theatre acquired the bells of the demolished Strastnoy convent, used as stage props; in 1990s they were donated to the church in Arbat District.
In May 2005, when the theatre was evacuated and closed for a scheduled renovation, the main stage was destroyed by an accidental fire; the load-bearing structures and smaller concert halls survived. The company moved to Bolshoi theatre and later moved out of country for a long overseas tour. The small stage was reopened in February 2006, the main stage in September 2006.
Photos by Jack Devant