The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

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The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow must the one of the famous theatres in the world. Situated in the heart of Moscow,close to the Teatralnaya Square,  it is one of the places that ballet and opera lovers dream to visit. People often associate the theatre with the famous Bolshoi Ballet Company but it also has one of the most prestigious Opera Companies in the world.

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View of the Bolshoi Theatre from Teatralnaya Square.


What does “Bolshoi” mean?

“Bolshoi” in Russian means large or great. It is an impressive theatre and the architecture is incredible. It is one of the most famous landmarks in Moscow. Sadly the building that you see now is not the original.  It was re-built several times in different places, burnt down to the ground once and a second fire left only the stone walls. The last time was with the Napoleon invasion in 1812.

Over the years many Opera singers and Ballet dancers became famous through their performances onstage at the Bolshoi Theatre. One of them is the famous Russian opera singers, Fyodor Shalyapin. What is a performance without music and many talented composers like Rahmaninov, composed for the theatre.

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Inside the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow – Wikipedia

Both Ballet and Opera were very popular during the bourgeois-era and the theatre was booming but what happened when Lenin and Stalin came into power? It is common knowledge that Lenin hated anything that remotely referred to Tsarism.

In realty not much happened. The Bolshoi Theatre had a name change in 1919 and became the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre. There was however an attempt to have it abolished but it was not successful. In a nutshell, neither ballet nor opera were banned but the productions were censored.

Stalin banned all foreign productions and only Soviet Opera were allowed. In my opinion this had positive and negative implications for the Russian theatre. First of all there were no exposure to foreign compositions. The theatre was completely isolated from the rest of the world and had to rely solely on Russian composers. This wasn`t necesarily a bad thing and brilliant composers contributed to work that is now called classics. The ban didn`t last forever and was lifted in the 1950`s.

Most famous performances at the Bolshoi Theatre: 

Swan Lake, Giselle, Traviatta, Khovanschina, Spartacus, Iolanta, Boris Godunov.

I have never been to an opera performance and really wanted to see one during our last visit to Russia. Unfortunately tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre is very expensive and we didn`t go. If you want to see ballet performances and you are travelling on a budget then I suggest you visit one of the many other theatres that are cheaper. In 2008 we saw Swan Lake in St. Petersburg. The performance was excellent and the prices of tickets very reasonable.

Interesting fact of the Bolshoi Theatre:

The Bolshoi Theatre features on the 100 Rouble Note.

Daily 19:00. Closed: Mondays.

When: 17 May 2012
Where: Moscow,Russia

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I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.


  1. I have never been to an opera either but I am sure it is worth a great experience. Did not know Bolshoi meant large. Thank you for sharing this Nelieta

  2. I love the window you give us on the world with your travels, Nelieta! I learn so much with each of your articles when I visit here. You’re very blessed with how much of this beautiful planet you’ve been able to experience, and sharing those experiences with those of us who haven’t traveled widely is so appreciated.

    – Dawn

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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