Private Opera

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The Solodovnikov Theatre

The Private Opera (Russian: Частная Опера), also known as:

  • The Russian Private Opera (Русская Частная Опера);
  • Moscow Private Russian Opera, (Московская Частная Русская Опера);
  • Mamontov's Private Russian Opera in Moscow (Мамонтова Частная Русская Опера в Москве);
  • Korotkov's Theatre (Театр Кроткова, 1885-1888);
  • Vinter's Theatre (Театр Винтера, 1896-1899);
  • Private Opera Society (Товарищество Частной Оперы, 1899-1904); and
  • Solodovnikov Theatre (Театр Солодовникова, from 1895; later used by Zimin opera, Moscow Operetta, and Helikon Opera)

was a private operatic enterprise, a company established in 1885 by famous Russian industrialist and philanthropist Savva Mamontov, who staged the operas, conducted the orchestra, trained the actors, taught them singing and paid all the expenses.

The company[edit]

At first the company was organised in Abramtsevo Estate located north of Moscow. The company was joined by Feodor Chaliapin in the autumn of 1896 and by Sergei Rachmaninov in the autumn of 1897 who took up the post of assistant conductor.

Mamontov united in his theatre the most talented singers, like Nadezhda Zabela-Vrubel, Pyotr Lodiy, Vladimir Lossky, Pyotr Olenin, Vera Petrova-Zvantseva, Nadezhda Salina, Anton Sekar-Rozhansky, Feodor Chaliapin, Nikolai Shevelev, Vasily Shkafer, Elena Tsvetkova and others.

He invited such composers as Sergei Vasilenko, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, Vasily Kalinnikov, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Decorations and costumes for the operas were designed by such artists as the brothers Viktor and Apollinary Vasnetsov, Konstantin and Sergei Korovin, Mikhail Vrubel, Mikhail Nesterov, Isaac Levitan, Sergei Malyutin, Vasily Polenov, Valentin Serov, Viktor Simov, Nikolay Chekhov, Alexander Janov, Natalia Goncharova and Ivan Bilibin.

Years of success[edit]

The success of the "Private Opera" in the province was followed by a triumph in Moscow. In Moscow the opera was located in the house at the Bolshaya Dmitrovskaya street, known as "Solodovnikov Theatre", built in 1894–1895 by Russiant merchant and music lover Gavrila Solodovnikov (1826–1901). Later the house was burned down and the Private Opera moved into the theatre "Paradis" («Парадиз»), at 19/13, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street (present-day Mayakovsky Theater).

The repertoire included many operas by foreign composers as well as the following works by Russian composers:

Final years[edit]

In late 1890s, Mamontov consolidated a large lot of land in central Moscow, across from Theatre Square, for building a large civic center with his opera hall and a luxury hotel. He appointed William Walcot as lead architect, however, in 1899 Mamontov was unjustly arrested and put on trial for embezzlement connected with building of the Yaroslavl railway. The project, known as Hotel Metropol, was completed without theater by Petersburg Insurance Company.

Meanwhile, from 1899 until 1904 the company existed without Mamontov, and changed its name to "Private Opera Society" (Tovarishchestvo chastnoi opery). Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov became its director and conductor.

In 1909, the last opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Golden Cockerel, had its world premiere at the "Solodovnikov Theatre" but was also performed by the Zimin Opera.

See also[edit]


  • Haldey, Olga (2010). Mamontov's Private Opera : the search for modernism in Russian theater . Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-35468-6.

External links[edit]