Theatre Museums of Moscow

1. The Theatre Museum, named after A.A.Bakhrushin. The Museum, named after A. A. Bakhrushin, was based on 29 October 1894, by Alexey Alexandrovich Bakhrushin, a famous Moscow industrialist and philanthropist (1865-1929).
Alexey Alexandrovich Bakhrushin belonged to one of the most respected merchant families in Moscow. The Bakhrushins were not only successful entrepreneurs, but also well-known philanthropists.
From a young age, Alexey Bakhrushin was fond of Opera and Ballet. He put on a pedestal such masters of the Maly Theater as Yermolova, Fedotova, Nikulina, Sadowsky, Lensky. Soon this love to the theater turned into a real passion. Alexey Bakhrushin approached to the theatrical world closer and closer, he gathered his famous collection by hook or by crook: performances’ programs, commemorative addresses, autographed photos, notebooks with lyrics roles, ballet shoes, gloves of actresses. He searched all these things by himself and with the help of his friends. Soon he became a regular in secondhand and antique shops. Collecting was turned into a passion.

For the first time Alexey Bakhrushin showed his collection to the friends on 11 June, 1894. On 30 October of the same year Bakhrushin organized the exhibition for everyone in the family house. He considered this day as the official date of the Museum founding.  The Bakhrushin collection has old musical instruments and sheet music, autographs and manuscripts of the actors, writers and playwrights; portraits, paintings, and theatrical sketches by Kiprensky, Tropinin, Golovin, Vasnetsov brothers, Repin, Vrubel, Dobuzhinsky, Korovin, Kustodiev, a collection of theatre binoculars, ladies ‘ fans, personal belongings of the actors, the objects of theatrical life. The collection was updated every day, it required new premises.

In 1897 Bakhrushin was elected as the Board member of the Russian Theatrical Society and headed the Moscow Theatre Bureau. For many years he did a lot of useful work in WTO (World Tourism Organization).

Then, in 1897, he announced his candidacy for the City Duma and became a permanent speaker on all the issues, connected with the theatre. Bakhrushin was an obligatory participant of numerous exhibition committees, associated with theatre, art, history.

On 25 November 1913 his collection was transferred to the Russian Academy of Science.

Today the Museum collection is the largest collection of materials on the history of Russian and Foreign Theatre, with more than 1.5 million exhibits:

– Department of Decorative-Applied Materials are the costumes and scenery, pictorial, graphic and sculptural portraits of theatrical figures, images, theater buildings, actors, theatrical performances, caricatures and cartoons, layouts scenery;

– Division of photo-negative documents is the second largest department in the Museum. It includes more than 500 000 units. These are photos of scenes from the plays, portraits of actors in life and in the roles of playwrights, directors, artists, entrepreneurs and other theatre workers; group portraits; pictures of theater buildings inside and outside. Its temporal boundaries are from the 1850s till today;

– Department of posters and programs is the most extensive Museum collection, it contains more than 600 000 units. It is based on posters of the Imperial and Private theaters. The Theatre Museum has the only country’s collection of pre-revolutionary posters of the province;

– Archives and Manuscript Department of the Theatre Museum is a unique collection of documentary monuments of the History of the Russian Theatre from the XVIII century to the present day. Currently there are about 200 000 units. All documents form a part of the personal, family funds, archival collections. They characterize the activity of creative teams of the theatres, the life and work of actors, directors, playwrights, composers, choreographers, historians, theatre artists and their surroundings.

Here you can find original manuscripts of plays and articles, stage director’s copies of plays, stage director’s notes, designs, texts of roles with comments of actors, letters, diaries, notebooks, memories, pictures in life and roles, programs, posters, personal papers, certificates, etc.;

– Department of memorial-clothing Fund has over 7 000 items. It is based on the collection, assembled by A. A. Bakhrushin, a Museum’s founder. These are the things of the leaders of Russian and Foreign scenes, commemorative medals, badges, tokens and icons, theatre and costume, art-ware of glass and porcelain, metal art, props of the individual performances, the objects of theatrical life. There is a separate department of local objects with precious metals and stones. The collection of theatrical costume gives an idea of the stage of history and artistic performances, actors’ creative workshop and their repertoire;
— Funds Department of children’s and puppet theatres is the youngest in the Museum. The entire Fund of the Department has about 40 000 museum objects. It consists of 4 unique collections, related to the history of the origin and formation of children’s theatres in the country. The basis is a collection of theatre puppets. The oldest puppet theatres are widely represented: the theatre of the Efimovs (Moscow) and the theatre of marionettes under the leadership of E. Demmeny (St.-Petersburg).

The Museum holds sightseeing and thematic tours, immersing the visitor into a backstage theatrical world of Ballet and Opera. The Museum hosts temporary exhibitions, meetings with famous artists, recitals and lectures on the history of theatre with the use of unique archival materials.

2. The House-Museum of M.S.Shchepkin. In the history of Russian culture Mikhail Semenovich Shchepkin (1788 — 1863) rightfully belongs to the glory of theatre art. The creative life of Mikhail Shchepkin began in the province, in private theaters. With compassion and heart pain, he remembered the tragic fate of the serf actors.

Soon, after a successful debut in Moscow, Shchepkin was invited to the Imperial Moscow Theatre. In 1822 he moved to Moscow as a free actor. It was the Golden time of “educated theatre-goers”, the most interesting period in the history of Russian theater, time of complicated theatrical reforms. The people, who loved and admired Shchepkin’s talent, came to the management of the theatre and asked for his assignment in the theater. The introduction of M.S.Shchepkin on the stage of the Imperial Theatre in Moscow became the largest event in the history of the performing arts: the troupe found a brilliant artist at the peak of his talent. He got used to work hard and creatively in order to improve his characters.

Always and everywhere Mikhail Semenovich Shchepkin preserved the identity of judgments and humanism. A new fellowship enriched him and put in the center of the intellectual life of his era. M.S.Shchepkin had a sensitive soul for his people, capable of deep sorrow, endowed with folk wisdom, analytical mind and talent. His merit in front of the theatre is not only the assertion of artistic realism in art, but also in the revealing laws of the theater art.

His creative method was the basis of an order system of another wonderful theatrical figure — K.S.Stanislavsky. And the teaching of M.S.Shchepkin has still nourished the creativity of artists around the world. As time has shown, the mission of M.S.Shchepkin on earth went beyond the theatre, his fate was closely linked with the fate of Russia. Being a bright person, he contributed to the development of art and social thought.

The House-Museum of M.S.Shchepkin is located in an old house, built in the late XVIII century, and, it is a unique monument of history and architecture. This building is one of the few structures, that survived the fire of Moscow in 1812. Here he lived the last four years of his life.
The Museum displays his authentic items: books, paintings, furniture, a cup, from which the master was drinking; here you will plunge into the atmosphere of warmth and coziness, love for the theatre art, that prevailes in this house.
The Museum offers tours, where you can learn about the life and work of a great artist, about his childhood and youth, about the first steps on the stage and creative activity at the Maly Theatre. He dedicated 40 years of his life to this theater. Much attention is paid to the reformative role of M. S. Shchepkin in the development of Russian theatre of the first half of XIX centuries, his friendship with prominent figures of science, culture, literature, such as A.S.Pushkin, N.V.Gogol, T.G.Shevchenko, I.S.Turgenev, S.T.Aksakov, T.N.Granovsky, V.G.Belinsky, A.I.Herzen, S.P.Shevyrev, and many others.

3. The Museum of the Moscow Art Theatre, named after A.P.Chekhov. The Moscow Art Theatre was founded in 1898 by K.S.Stanislavsky and V.I.Nemirovich-Danchenko, and since 1919 it changed its name to (Mkhat, abbreviation of Moscow Academic Art Theatre). Since 1902, the theater is located at Kamergersky lane, a former Lianozovsky theatre, rebuilt by the architect F.O.Shekhtel in the same year. The Art Theatre began from the meeting of its founders, Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky and Vladimir Ivanovich Nemirovich-Danchenko at the restaurant “Slavic Bazaar” on 19 June, 1897. The core of the troupe was made up of students from the Moscow Philharmonic Society, where V.I.Nemirovich-Danchenko taught the acting skills, and, the participants of the performances, managed by K. S. Stanislavsky in the Society of Lovers of Art and Literature. The true birth of the Moscow Art Theatre is connected with the plays by Anton Chekhov and Maxim Gorky.

A new type of actor was formed in these performances. This actor conveyed subtly the features of the character’s psychology. The principles of new stage direction were made: seeking for the ensemble cast, creating the overall atmosphere of the action. The Moscow Art Theatre is the first Russian theatre, which reformed its repertoire, created its own themes, and developed it gradually from performance to performance. Among the best performances of the Moscow Art Theatre are the following ones: “The Mischief of Being Clever” by Alexander Griboyedov (1906), “A Blue bird” by M.Meterlinck (1908), “A month in the country” by Ivan Turgenev (1909), “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1911), “Le Malade Imaginaire” by Moliere (1913), etc.

From 1912 the Moscow Art Theatre created a Studio for actor training in the principles of this theater.

In 2004, the theatre returned to its original name — the Moscow Art theatre (Mkhat), excluding the word “Academic”.

Since 1923 there has been a Museum of the Moscow Art Theatre. The basis of its collection was the Foundation of documents on the history of the theatre along with the personal funds of Stanislavsky, Nemirovich-Danchenko and other major figures of the Art Theatre. The Museum has a unique collection of documentary funds, costumes and models, theatrical painting, graphics and sculpture, memorial things, theatrical relics. The permanent exhibition includes the memorial room of V.I.Nemirovich-Danchenko, an artistic restroom of K.S.Stanislavsky, “Efremov lobby” and an artistic restroom of O.N.Efremova.

4. The Museum-apartment of V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko. He is one of the founders and leaders of the Moscow Art Theatre. Nemirovich-Danchenko lived for the last five years of his life by the following address: the house N 5/7, Glinishevsky lane. In 1944 it was opened a memorial Museum here. The Decor of the rooms was preserved untouched in an old Moscow apartment. The exhibits will tell you the story of a long and fruitful life in art of the renowned director, playwright and acting teacher. The walls are decorated with portraits and photographs of the major figures of Russian culture with their inscriptions to the owner. There are exhibitions and excursions here, devoted to the life and work of V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko.

5. The House-Museum of K.S.Stanislavsky. The mansion of the beginning of the XIX century was built on the base of the white stone house of the XVII-XVIII centuries, its interior was designed in the style of early Russian Empire.

In the early 20’s years, Stanislavsky moved with his family into the house N 6 in Leontiev lane. In this house he spent the last 17 years of his life. Family of Stanislavsky took the second floor in the house, which was divided into two halves: the living room (office, dining room, bedrooms) and the premises, where the Opera Studio was housed, created by a Great Stage Director at the Bolshoi Theater in 1918. Subsequently, the Studio was separated from the Bolshoi Theatre, and, it was named after Stanislavsky in 1924. Two years later, the Opera Studio was transformed into the Opera Theater. The main room of the Studio was the so-called the Hall of Onegin. On May 1922, the first night of “Eugene Onegin” Opera by Tchaikovsky was held in this hall, staged by the Studio under the Direction of Stanislavsky. The show was so successful, that it was decided to transfer it to a large theatrical stage. The Hall, which was the birthplace of this amazing performance, became known as the Onegin Hall. In the Onegin Hall the other rehearsals and other operas were taken place. These were the works by Stanislavsky: “The Tsar’s bride” (1926) and “May’s daughter” (1928) by N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov, “La Boheme” (1927) by D.Puccini and others. The leather arm-chair of Stanislavsky has still stood in the hall in memory of the rehearsal shows. The heart of the home is the master’s study : a witness of his tireless work and creative research. Here Stanislavsky wrote a book “My life in art” and “An actor’s work over himself”, which is known today throughout the world. In the last decade of his life, when his health did not allow to Konstantin Stanislavsky to leave the house, the office was transformed into “the lab”. His friends and students came to the great teacher here.

There is a bedroom near the study room, which preserved everything as it was during the life of the owner of the house. In the dining room, which is next to the bedroom, there are old family portraits of Stanislavsky relatives, the Alexeevs merchants. They were the owners of golden fiddly factory in Moscow. You can find here the photo of their house, where Konstantin Alexeev was born in 1863. Acting from 14 years on the Amateur scene, he took the pseudonym Stanislavsky in 1885. Two small cozy rooms in the house were occupied by his wife, Maria Petrovna Lilina, an actress of the Moscow Art Theatre.
In the rooms of the third floor there is an exhibition of Stanislavsky work in the Soviet era; his work on the creation of staged performances of the Moscow Art Theatre “Days of the Turbins” by Mikhail Bulgakov (1926) and “Armored train 14-69” by V. Ivanov (1927). Glory to the Soviet theatre was brought by the actors and directors who were brought up by K. S. Stanislavsky and V.I.Nemirovich – Danchenko in the studios.

6. The House-Museum of M.N.Yermolova. Maria Yermolova (1853-1928) is a Russian actress, an honored artist of the Imperial theatres. Yermolova was born on 3 (15) July 1853 in Moscow in the family of a theater prompter N. Yermolov. In 1863 she entered the Moscow Imperial Theater School and studied at ballet class under the guidance of the famous St. Petersburg F.N.Manohin dancer. Young Yermolova did not like ballet, so, studying at drama school, she copied and learned the roles of dramatic works, musical comedies and melodramas. In 1866 her father let her to sing in comic vaudeville “The Groom in a great demand” by D.T.Lensky. In 1871 Yermolova took her final exam and was employed in the drama troupe of the Maly Theatre. Even before the official employment, she got different roles and played them successfully. In 1876, in her first benefice, Yermolova represented a play “The Sheep well” by Lope de Vega in a translation, which was made specially for this occasion by C.A.Yuryev. The role of Laurencia was a triumph for Yermolova, opening a whole new trend in the repertoire of the Maly theatre — the “Age of Romance”. Volcanic explosions of feelings were combined in actress with the strict consistency of the play, full of lyricism, sincerity, warmth and truthfulness. The power of heroic pathos of Yermolova, the power of her tragic talent was clearly manifested in the role of Joan of Arc (“The Maid of Orleans” by Schiller). Yermolova was achieving for many years to remove the censorship and to permit to put this play on the stage. Having performed this role in 1884 for the first time, Yermolova played it for 18 years then. Defending her strategy in the repertoire of the Maly theater, Yermolova received a permission to play in Schiller’s performance “Maria Stuart” and she played a major role. Yermolova often acted in the concert stage with the poetry reading. Her repertoire included the lyrics by A.S.Pushkin, M.Lermontov, N.Nekrasov, I.S.Nikitin, Y.P.Polonsky and others.

In the heart of Tverskoy Boulevard there is a neat mansion, one of the witnesses of the ancient Moscow. At the entrance to the House-Museum you will have the impression, as if time has stopped for a moment: walking by the rooms, the tour guide will tell you the fascinating stories of the greatest Russian actress Maria Nikolaevna Yermolova and her true “life in art”.

The House features of the classicism of the late XVIII century and Art Nouveau at the turn of XIX–XX centuries. The tradistions were kept carefully here. After purchasing the house, M.N.Yermolova and her husband, N.P.Shubinsky, a prominent lawyer, did not change neither the location nor the color of the walls. The colored rooms are kept to this day, in the fashion spirit of the XVIII century: Yellow Green living room, brilliant White hall, where the artist V.A.Serov wrote the famous Yermolova portrait.
The house-Museum of M.N.Yermolova is a theatre place. Here you will find the old posters, theatre props and authentic costumes. She played her legendary Joan of Arc in iron chain mail with a sword. She read the burning verses by N.Nekrasov, wearing a simple black dress, in front of an enthusiastic students’ audience.

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