Branch of the Bolshoi Theater on the "Island of Arts"

Branch of the Bolshoi Theater on the "Island of Arts"

One of the main symbols of Moscow, the Bolshoi Theater, will expand its geography and open a branch in Kaliningrad by the end of 2023.

The Oktyabrsky Island in Kaliningrad will turn into the largest cultural and educational cluster and museum complex, and its landmarks will be the Tretyakov Gallery and a branch of the Bolshoi Theater. It is no coincidence that Kaliningrad was chosen as the project location. Being part of continental Europe, the city has the potential as a tourist region, and the Bolshoi branch can become a magnet for foreign tourists.

It will also be a new milestone in the cultural and educational life of Kaliningraders. Previously, residents of the city could rarely see the masterpieces of ballet and opera art. Starting from 2024, they will have this opportunity at least three to four times a week. Their acquaintance with the Bolshoi began at the end of 2019, when the “Legends of the Bolshoi Theater” exhibition opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, where the Bolshoi museum fund showed its exhibits, from old posters and tickets to original costumes of the great soloists. And in February 2020, a gala concert was timed to coincide with the stone-laying ceremony: opera and ballet soloists, the choir and orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater performed on stage of the Yantar Hall in Svetlogorsk.

Visually, the theater will differ significantly from the Bolshoi in Moscow - instead of the traditional classics, the team of architects preferred modern minimalism, and the shape of the building was defined as a "hyperbolic paraboloid". The project provides for two concert halls for 950 and 300 seats - this is enough for a city with a population of 500,000 people, even with tourists. The diagonal roof will give the branch theater a unique look from different angles; at the same time, the roof will be functional and can turn into another venue for events to be held on warm days. A park area with ponds and green spaces will be set up next to the theater - all the venues on the island will form a single architectural ensemble.

A fully functional creative life of the theater will require a significant staff. For example, the Bolshoi team in Moscow is one of the largest in the world: over 3,000 people work there, of which about 1,000 are artistic staff. But Kaliningrad doesn’t have educational institutions capable of producing musicians, opera and ballet artists of the required level, that is why branches of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography and the Central Music School at the Moscow State Conservatory named after P.I.  Tchaikovsky, as well as a boarding school, production workshops and five residential buildings for employees will be built on the island.

It is too early to talk about the future repertoire, but originality of the city, determined by its location, will certainly impact the artistic style in classical productions and new performances. Vladimir Urin, General Director of the Bolshoi Theater said, “The staff of the Bolshoi Theater and all the specialists working with it will try to do everything to ensure that the branch of the Bolshoi Theater in Kaliningrad becomes a true theatrical center of Russia”.