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In the summer of 1875, the Governor-General of Russian Finland from 1866 to 1881, Count Nikolay Adlerberg, who was a frequent theatregoer, received Alexander II of Russia's permission to build a theatre for Russians living in Helsinki. The building was designed by the engineer Colonel Pjotr Petrovitš Benard, though probably on the basis of standardized drawings. The auditorium of the theatre was decorated by the Saint Petersburg architect Jeronim Osuhovsky, and the Finnish artist Severin Falkman decorated the ceiling paintings, which depict twelve cupids, reminding of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. The theatre technology was designed by Iosif Vorontsov. The theatre was completed in October 1879, and in February 1880 it was named after Russian Tsar Alexander II.
In 1918 the Finnish National Opera and Ballet moved to the Alexander Theatre and remained in the premises until 1993. After the Finnish National Opera and Ballet moved to their newly-built house, the Alexander Theatre got back its historical name and once again became a theatre venue.
Since 1993, the theatre has been used for guest stage performances of various genres. The theatre building also houses different offices, rehearsal facilities, dance studios and different companies.
The Alexander Theatre reportedly is haunted by the ghost of a dead officer. It is assumed that he died during the Crimea War and moved to Helsinki as the tiles of Alexander Theatre were moved there from Åland.
- Arvi Ilonen, Helsinki - An Architectural Guide, Helsinki: Otava, 1990.
- (in English)Official website
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