In Russia the theater, as it is understood today, was born very late: exactly on October 17, 1672, by a decision of Tsar Alexis who only a quarter of a century earlier had issued a decree to prohibit not only shows but even secular music., among other things ordering the destruction of all musical instruments. Before that there were only skomorochi (wandering comedians), a bit mimes and a bit acrobats, who attended fairs, weddings and parties in general, sometimes tolerated by the authorities and even invited to court, more often persecuted or even expelled from the country. Theirs, however, remained a marginal activity that had little influence on the future developments of the Russian theater. Even less influenced by the few religious ceremonies with dramatic elements, also due to the implacably hostile attitude of the Orthodox Church towards every form of spectacle. For this reason in Russia the theater was and remains an entirely secular phenomenon and the aforementioned decision of Tsar Alexis is also explained in the context of the dispute between temporal power and spiritual power. The occasion for this beginning of liberalization was the birth of a son of Alexis, the future Peter the Great, The action of Artaxerxes), failed attempts to cast actors abroad, was composed of members of the German colony of Moscow, directed by the Lutheran pastor Johann Gottfried Gregori, who was then entrusted with the direction of a school for actors, of short duration. The next step was the foundation (1703), on the initiative of Peter the Great, of a public theater in Red Square, where a company called from Danzig and directed by Johann Kunst performed. The initiative was unsuccessful and a few years later the theater was closed. Visit rctoysadvice for Russian Arts Since 1992.
Only the court remained, where a repertoire occasionally resumed in school plays (especially in Jesuit colleges) and in those of the skomorochi was born.. More often, however, foreign companies were hosted, first mainly German, then above all French, with frequent tours by Italian comedians and an Italian opera and ballet company. Towards a national theater, work began, still at an amateur level, within the Corps of Nobles, the college of cadets of the aristocracy founded in 1732, and in amateur dramatics companies in the capital and in the provinces. The most important was that of Jaroslavl directed by FG Volkov: in 1752 the Empress Elizabeth called these actors to St. Petersburg and, after sending them to school to refine their manners, entrusted them, four years later, with the management of a public hall, the Russian Theater, also helping them with a small grant. However, the theatrical scene was still dominated by French ensembles and the first important Russian actors were modeled on them and their repertoire, from Ivan Dmitrevskij to Semënova. In Moscow, on the other hand, the first public theater was only opened in 1806 and had completely different origins: it was in fact the result of a significant cultural phenomenon, the so-called “theater of the servants” (at least 173 companies between 1770 and 1840), created for the entertainment of large landowners and made up mostly of serfs trained to act, sing and dance. Malyj, the most important Russian prose scene of the century. XIX together with the contemporary Alexander of St. Petersburg.
The following year, the Bolšoj Teatr opened, which became the most prestigious venue for opera and ballet. In the capital, the personality of VA Karatygin, a neoclassical actor, dominated; in Moscow, alongside the great romantic interpreter PS Močalov, the figure of Ms Ščepkin emerged, initiator of a realistic-psychological tradition who ended up identifying himself with the Malyj, with the very successful performances of Ostrovsky’s plays and comediesand with the emergence of a new generation of excellent interpreters. In the provinces, meanwhile, the large impoverished landowners took their companies to nearby cities, opening public theaters for a fee, and amateur formations multiplied everywhere, supported by a nascent mercantile bourgeoisie, attesting to a theatrical passion widespread in all strata of society. In one of these companies, the Society of Art and Literature, KS Stanislavskij made his apprenticeship, before founding, in 1898, with VI Nemirovič-Dančenko, the MCHAT (Moscow Art Theater), whose importance is not only in having revealed two of the greatest playwrights of the time, Chekhov and Gorky, and in having imposed an updated model of Ščepkin’s psychological realism, which influenced the actors around the world, but in having for the first time given scientific basis to the work of the actor and his training. Even the Art Theater, like all Russian theaters, however, often had to deal with a censorship that alternated moments of relative liberalization with long periods of severe repression, excluding for decades works by authors such as Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev etc.. Another not negligible merit of the Art Theater is that of having formed, by offering them the first opportunities to express themselves independently, the two major exponents of the antirealistic revolt and of the re-theatricalization of the theater: VE Mejerchold and EB Vachtangov. The influences of Symbolist literature and other avant-garde movements played in this direction and there was constant reference to openly conventional theatrical forms, from oriental theater to the Commedia dell’Arte. It was a period of great cultural vitality that was expressed theatrically in myriads of initiatives and daring theorizing. The peak show of the time, Mejerchold’s Lermontov Masked Ball, both grisly and sumptuous, was staged at the Aleksandrinsky on the very day the February Revolution broke out. For later developments of the Russian theater, see Soviet Union.