The Bolshoi Drama Theater (BDT) in St. Petersburg
Address: St. Petersburg, Fontanka river embankment, 65
The Bolshoi Drama Theater is one of the oldest in St. Petersburg, because its doors opened wide for the audience on February 15, 1919, when Schiller's tragedy Don Carlos was played on its stage. True, the first performance of the troupe was held at the Opera Studio of the Conservatory, and not in its own building. Already in 1964, the theater was awarded the title of Academic, in the 70th - the Malaya Stage was opened, and from the 92nd it received the name Tovstonogov.
It all began with the signing of the decree on the creation of a Special Dramatic Troupe (as the world famous BDT was originally called) in Petrograd. The most famous personalities of that time stood at the origins of the theater: for example, the outstanding actor Monahov was in charge of forming the troupe, A. Blok was the chairman of the BDT directory, and M. Gorky was the ideological inspirer, who put not fiction, ephemeral images, but man! A human hero, inspired by his idea, selfless, honest, commits great feats. And to this day Gorky’s slogan follows: “Heroic people are heroic theaters”.
Over the years, performances based on works by Schiller, Shakespeare, Hugo were staged here, which glorified noble ideas, opposing them to worldly cruelty and chaos. In order to convey this message to the viewer, famous artists Dobuzhinsky and Benoit and the architect Shuko worked in the theater. It is thanks to them that the magnificent and solemn style of the early theater was formed in the BDT.
In 1921, changes occurred in the theater: Blok died, Gorky and Andreeva left their homeland, Benoit, Yuryev and Lavrentiev left the drama theater. A new pleiad of artists and directors appeared here, who mainly staged plays by their contemporaries.
In 1956, when the BDT was preparing for its 37th birthday, a new director, Georgy Tovstonogov, appeared in the theater, from which a new era began in his life. Georgy Alexandrovich managed to create in the theater such an atmosphere that allowed him to become, for many decades, perhaps the best theater in the country. The various performances created by the master (“The Fox and the Grapes”, “The Inspector-General”, “The Tradesmen”, “The Three Sisters”, “The Three Sacks of Weed Wheat”, “At the Bottom” and others) became not only significant events in the life of Leningrad, but also the whole country, because the director managed to collect the best drama group of the country, where played Smoktunovsky, Jurassic, Lebedeva, Borisov and many others.
May 23, 1989 George Tovstonogov died. In those days when the theater could not yet recover from the severity of the loss, K. Lavrov, People's Artist of the USSR, was appointed the new artistic director. He made all possible efforts to preserve the special theatrical atmosphere that reigned here, the powerful genetic code laid down by Georgiy Alexandrovich, and the stage mentality of the troupe. The new head of the theater invited here to put on plays of talented directors, among whom was Cheidze, who put on Schiller's “Insidiousness and Love” - a production conceived by Tovstonogov, but never realized. This premiere was the first on the theater stage since the departure of the great master.
On April 27, 2007, the Bolshoi Drama Theater bade farewell to Kirill Y. Lavrov. Soon, T. Chkheidze was appointed artistic director, who tries not to disturb the atmosphere prevailing in the theater, listen to the voice of the heart and carefully preserve the traditions established here by Tovstonogov.
Now on the stage of BDT there are performances on the works of world and Russian classics, as well as modern drama. Particularly popular with the audience are "Copenhagen" Freyn, "Talents and generations " Ostrovsky, " The house where the heart breaks "Show, " don Carlos, the Spanish infant "Schiller," the Old man and the sea " Hemingway, and many others.