Leningrad Academic Malyi Theater of Opera and Ballet

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Leningrad Academic Malyi Theater of Opera and Ballet


The Leningrad Malyi Theater was organized in 1918 (in the building housing the former Mikhailovskii Theater) with its own orchestra, chorus, and mime ensemble and by 1931 had expanded to a full complement of artists. In 1920 it was named the State Academic Theater of Comic Opera; in 1921 it was renamed the Malyi Petrograd State Academic Theater. Beginning in 1926 it was called the State Academic Malyi Opera Theater; in 1964 it received its present name (Leningrad Academic Malyi Theater of Opera and Ballet).

In its first years the theater staged Russian and foreign classics (Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night, Rachmaninoff’s The Miserly Knight, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville) and classic operettas (Offenbach’s La Perichole, Planquette’s Les Cloches de Corneville). Beginning in the mid-1920’s, Soviet operas dominated the theater’s repertoire. Staged for the first time were Gladkovskii and Prussak’s For Red Petrograd (1925), Shostakovich’s The Nose (1930) and A Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Katerina Iz-mailova, 1934), Dzerzhinskii’s The Quiet Don (1935), Kabalevskii’s Colas Breugnon (1938), Pashchenko’s The Pompadours (1939), and other operas. Under the direction of F. V. Lopukhov, a ballet company was created in 1933; the ballets performed included Drigo’s Harlequinade (1933), Délibes’ Coppelia (1934), Asafev’s The Prisoner of the Caucasus (1938), and Chulaki’s Tale of a Priest and His Worker Balda (1940). Significant contributions to the establishment and development of theater were made by the conductors S. A. Samosud, B. E. Khaikin, and E. P. Grikurov; the stage director N. V. Smolich; and the balletmasters F. V. Lopukhov, B. A. Fenster, and I. D. Bel’skii.

Among the best works staged from the 1940’s through the early 1970’s are the operas War and Peace by Prokofiev (1946, 1955), The Young Guard by Meitus (1950), Don Carlos (1955) and Otello (1962) by Verdi, The Flying Dutchman by Wagner (1957), Katerina Izmailova by Shostakovich (1965), Virinea by Slonimskii (1967), The Mountain Dwellers by Chalaev (1971), Porgy and Bess by Gershwin (1972), and Iphigénie based on Gluck’s two operas (1972) and the ballets Youth by Chulaki (1949), Solveig to the music of Grieg (1952), The Seven Beauties by Karaev (1954), Eleventh Symphony by Shostakovich (1966), Antony and Cleopatra by Lazarev (1968), and La Fille mal gardée by Hérold (1971).

Through the years, various artists have worked at the theater, among them the singers S. V. Balashov, N. V. Vel’ter, O. N. Golovina, E. A. Krasovskaia, T. N. Lavrova, A. Iu. Modestov, I. A. Nechaev, I. E. Pichugin, A. I. Popova-Zhuravlenko, V. F. Raikov, A. I. Stupal’skaia, and S. N. Shaposhnikov and the ballet soloists S. P. Dubinin, V. S. Zimin, G. N. Isaeva, G. N. Kirillova, Iu. P. Litvinenko, Iu. V. Malakhov, N. R. Mirimanova, G. N. Pirozhnaia, V. M. Rozenberg, L. N. Safronova, V. M. Stankevich, and S. K. Sheina.

In 1973 the theater’s company included the singers Honored Artists of the Dagestan ASSR N. P. Zaznobina, V. A. Kuznetsov, M. L. Petrova, and E. P. Tseloval’nik; Honored Artist of the Chuvash ASSR V. K. Retiunskii; and Artist E. S. Gorokhovskaia. The ballet soloists included Honored Artists of the RSFSR N. A. Dolgushin, L. P. Kamilova, and G. V. Pokryshkina and Honored Artists of the Severnaia Osetiia ASSR A. M. Sidorov, V. S. Mukhanova, and G. R. Zamuel. The principal conductor was A. S. Dmitriev (Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR); the principal stage director, E. E. Pasynkov (People’s Artist of the RSFSR); the principal choreographer, O. M. Vinogradov (Honored Artist of the Dagestan ASSR); the principal chorus master, E. D. Lebedev (Honored Artist of the RSFSR); and the principal artist (set and costume designer), M. S. Shcheglov.

The theater was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1939.


Leningradskii gosudarstvennyi ordena Lenina akademicheskii Malyi teatr opery i baleta, 1918–1968. Leningrad, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Full browser ?