Moscow Private Russian Opera

Moscow Private Russian Opera


an opera theater that opened in Moscow in 1885. It was organized and funded by S. I. Mamontov. The theater brought together many outstanding figures in various fields of Russian art. Its company included the singers N. I. Zabela-Vrubel’, P. A. Lodii, P. S. Olenin, V. N. Petrova-Zvantseva, N. V. Salina, A. V. Sekar-Rozhanskii, F. I. Chaliapin, N. A. Shevelev, E. Ia. Tsvetkova, and V. A. Eberle; its conductors were M. M. Ippolitov-Ivanov and S. V. Rachmaninoff (who made his conducting debut there). Stage directors included V. I. Losskii, P. I. Mel’nikov, P. S. Olenin, and V. P. Shkafer. The sets were designed by such eminent painters as V. M. Vasnetsov, A. M. Vasnetsov, M. A. Vrubel’, K. A. Korovin, I. I. Levitan, V. D. Polenov, and V. A. Serov.

The Moscow Private Russian Opera specialized in the works of Russian composers, particularly the operas of the Russian Five and P. I. Tchaikovsky. The theater’s major productions were Dargomyzhsky’s The Stone Guest; Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden, Sadko, The Tsar’s Bride, and The Maid of Pskov; Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina and Boris Godunov; and Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans, Mazeppa, and Vakula the Smith. The theater’s repertoire also included Glinka’s Ivan Susanin, Dargomyzhsky’s The Mermaid, Serov’s Rogneda, Rubinstein’s The Demon, Borodin’s Prince Igor, Puccini’s La Bohème, and Massenet’s Werther.

The aim of creating a realistic production built around a single creative concept was one of the progressive achievements of the theater. In the words of B. V. Asaf’ev, “the experience of this theater must be considered a turning point in the history not only of Russian opera but also of the whole history of Russian operatic music” (from the preface to V. P. Shkafer’s Sorok let na stsene russkoi opery: 1890–1930, Leningrad, 1936, p. v). In 1904 the Moscow Private Russian Opera closed because of financial difficulties.


Iakovlev, V. “N. A. Rimskii-Korsakov i opernyi teatr S. I. Mamontova.” In Teatral’nyi al’manakh, book 2. Moscow, 1946.


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