The Bolshoi Theatre has a long and interesting history and has been staging some of the best productions in Russia for more than 200 years. Today it hosts ballet and opera. Book tickets well in advance to enjoy a performance in its regal setting.
The Bolshoi started out as the private project of a prince in 1776. The first theater buildings were ruined by fires in 1805, 1812 and 1853. Come here today and you’ll see the latest Bolshoi building, which first opened in 1856. Under Soviet rule, the Bolshoi saw its funding slashed, but today the company is thriving.
The drama begins before you even enter the theater with its stunning façade. Sit near the pleasant fountain outside and admire the exterior, with its grand columns and imposing entrance. Look for the statue of Apollo overlooking Moscow as he drives a horse-drawn chariot. If the image looks familiar, it may be because you’ve seen it already on Russia’s 100-ruble note.
Step inside to see a ballet or opera performance in stunning surroundings. The word “Bolshoi” comes from the Russian word for “large.” As you enter the auditorium, you’ll soon see why the theater was given this name. At about 70 feet (21 meters) tall and 85 feet (26 meters) wide, it can hold 2,153 audience members. It also has six tiers of attractively lit seating, which add to the opulent atmosphere.
Look upward to see a huge chandelier and the various murals dominating the Bolshoi’s vast ceiling. Note the impeccable condition of the works; the theater looks particularly splendid following a 6-year renovation that was completed in 2011. All this grandeur makes it a perfect location to enjoy a ballet or opera performance.
Buy tickets for the Bolshoi Theatre online or at the box office in Moscow. The Teatralnaya metro station is just a short walk from the venue.