moscow arts theatre

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                         The Russian Primavera (Bolshoi Theatre)

“The Bolshoi Theatre (Russian: Большо́й теа́тр, tr. Bol'shoy Teatr, Big Theatre; IPA: [bɐlʲˈʂoj tʲɪˈatər]) is a historic theatre in Moscow, Russia, designed by architect Joseph Bové, which holds ballet and opera performances. Before the October Revolution it was a part of the Imperial Theatres of the Russian Empire along with Maly Theatre (Small Theatre) in Moscow and a few theatres in Saint Petersburg (Hermitage Theatre, Bolshoi (Kamenny) Theatre, later Mariinsky Theatre and others).The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world. It is by far the world’s biggest ballet company, with more than 200 dancers.[1] The theatre is the parent company of The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, a world-famous leading school of ballet. It has a branch at the Bolshoi Theatre School in Joinville, Brazil.The main building of the theatre, rebuilt and renovated several times during its history, is a landmark of Moscow and Russia (its iconic neoclassical façade is depicted on the Russian 100-ruble banknote). On 28 October 2011, the Bolshoi re-opened after an extensive six-year renovation.[2] The official cost of the renovation is 21 billion rubles ($688 million). However, other Russian authorities and other people connected to it claimed much more public money was spent.[3][4] The renovation included restoring acoustics to the original quality (which had been lost during the Soviet Era), as well as restoring the original Imperial decor of the Bolshoi”

 Leon Bakst, Portrait of Alexandre Benois, 1898

Leon Samoilovitch Bakst (Russian: Лео́н Никола́евич Бакст; 10 May 1866 – 28 December 1924) was a Russian painter and scene and costume designer. He was a member of the Sergei Diaghilev circle and the Ballets Russes, for which he designed exotic, richly coloured sets and costumes.
Born as Lev (Leib) Samoilovich Rosenberg (Лев Самойлович Розенберг), he was also known as Leon (Lev) Nikolayevich Bakst (Леон (Лев) Николаевич Бакст).

Alexandre Nikolayevich Benois (Russian: Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Бенуа́, also spelled Alexander Benois; 3 May [O.S. 21 April] 1870, Saint Petersburg – 9 February 1960, Paris), was an influential artist, art critic, historian, preservationist, and founding member of Mir iskusstva (World of Art), an art movement and magazine. As a designer for the Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev, Benois exerted what is considered a seminal influence on the modern ballet and stage design.

Alexandre was born into the artistic and intellectual Benois family, prominent members of the 19th and early 20th-century Russian intelligentsia. His mother Camilla (ru: Камилла Альбертовна Кавос, and then Бенуа) was the granddaughter of Catterino Cavos. His father was Nicholas Benois, a noted Russian architect. His brothers included Albert, a painter, and Leon, also a notable architect. His sister, Maria, married the composer and conductor Nikolai Tcherepnin (with whom Alexandre would work). Not planning a career in the arts, Alexandre graduated from the Faculty of Law, Saint Petersburg Imperial University, in 1894.

Three years later while in Versailles, Benois painted a series of watercolors depicting Last Promenades of Louis XIV. When exhibited by Pavel Tretyakov in 1897, they brought him to attention of Sergei Diaghilev and the artist Léon Bakst. Together the three men founded the art magazine and movement Mir iskusstva (World of Art), which promoted the Aesthetic Movement and Art Nouveau in Russia.

During the first decade of the new century, Benois continued to edit Mir iskusstva, but also pursued his scholarly and artistic interests. He wrote and published several monographs on 19th-century Russian art and Tsarskoye Selo. In 1903, Benois printed his illustrations to Pushkin’s poem The Bronze Horseman, a work since recognized as one of the landmarks in the genre. In 1904, he published his “Alphabet in Pictures,” at once a children’s primer an elaborate art book, copies of which fetch as much as $10,000US at auction. Illustrations from this volume were featured at a video presentation during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014.

In 1901, Benois was appointed scenic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, the performance space for the Imperial Russian Ballet. He moved to Paris in 1905 and thereafter devoted most of his time to stage design and decor.
During these years, his work with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes was groundbreaking. His sets and costumes for the productions of Les Sylphides (1909), Giselle (1910), and Petrushka (1911), are counted among his greatest triumphs. Although Benois worked primarily with the Ballets Russes, he also collaborated with the Moscow Art Theatre and other notable theatres of Europe.
Surviving the upheaval of the Russian Revolution of 1917, Benois achieved recognition for his scholarship; he was selected as curator of the gallery of Old Masters in the Hermitage Museum at Leningrad, where he served from 1918 to 1926. During this time he secured his brother’s heirloom Leonardo da Vinci painting of the Madonna for the museum. It became known as the Madonna Benois. Benois published his Memoirs in two volumes in 1955.
In 1927 he left Russia and settled in Paris. He worked primarily as a set designer after settling in France.

Osip Braz - Portrait of Dobuzhinsky - 1922

Osip Emmanuilovich Braz (Russian: Осип Эммануилович Браз; January 16, 1873 in Odessa - November 6, 1936 near Paris) was a Russian-Jewish realist painter.

Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky or Dobujinsky (Lithuanian: Mstislavas Dobužinskis, August 14, 1875, Novgorod – November 20, 1957, New York City) was a Russian-Lithuanian artist noted for his cityscapes conveying the explosive growth and decay of the early twentieth-century city.

Of noble Lithuanian extraction, Dobuzhinsky was born on August 14, 1875 in Novgorod into the family of an army officer. From 1885 to 1887, he attended the Drawing School of the Society for the Promotion of the Artists. Between 1895 and 1899, he read Law at the University of St. Petersburg, simultaneously studying in private studios. After graduating from the University, he was trained from 1899 to 1901 by Anton Ažbe in Munich and Simon Hollósy in Nagybánya (Austria-Hungary). In Munich, he came to be influenced by the Jugendstil. On his return to Russia, he joined the Mir Iskusstva, an artistic circle which idealized the 18th century as the “age of elegance”.

Dobuzhinsky was distinguished from other miriskusniki by his expressionist manner and keen interest in modern industrial cityscapes. He often painted seedy or tragic scenes from urban life which expressed the nightmarish bleakness and loneliness of modern times. Among his works were also humorous vignettes and sketches with demon-like creatures which seemed to embody the monstrosities of urbanization.

Like other members of the Mir iskusstva, Dobuzhinsky also experimented with scenic design. At first he worked for Constantin Stanislavski at the Moscow Arts Theatre, but later on also contributed sets to several Diaghilev productions. He was renowned as an excellent art teacher; among his young pupils was Vladimir Nabokov, with whom he maintained correspondence for decades.

During the First World War Dobuzhinsky went with Eugene Lanceray to the front lines to sketch. In 1918, he supervised the theatrical workshop at the State Educational Workshops of the Decorative Arts (the former Stieglitz School of the Technical Drawing). In 1920, he took part in the Second Congress of the Communist International. In 1923-24, he went abroad to study developments in European art and to arrange one-man shows. 

In 1924, Dobuzhinsky followed the advice of Jurgis Baltrusaitis and withdrew to Lithuania. He was naturalized there in 1924 and lived in Kaunas until 1925. Between 1925 and 1929 lived in Paris where he designed sets for Nikita Balieff’s The Bat.He returned to Lithuania in 1929. In Lithuania he worked at a state theatre as scenographer and created scenography for 38 plays, besides running a private painting school (1930–1933).He then emigrated to England in 1935, and moved to the USA in 1939 where he stayed for the duration of the war. He spent the last ten years of his life in Europe, occasionally returning to New York for theatrical work. He died in New York on November 20, 1957. His memoirs were published posthumously in Russian.

Among his later works are series of masterful and dramatic illustrations, notably for Dostoyevsky’s White Nights (1923) and Yuri Olesha’s Three Fat Men (1925). Dobuzhinsky contributed sets for theatre productions in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Düsseldorf. During World War II, Dobuzhinsky painted imaginary landscapes of the besieged Leningrad.

He is interned at the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery Departement de l'Essonne, Ile-de-France, France; Plot: grave 3428.