Highlights of the Bolshoi Theatre's Costume Museum

The Bolshoi Theatre

Discover the history and treasures of Russia's most extraordinary performing art collections

The Museum's Costume Collection
The Bolshoi Theatre museum holds an incredible costume collection dating back to its inception in 1918. Some of the star highlights of the collection are opera and ballet costumes created for Feodor Chaliapin, Tamara Milashkina, Irina Arkhipova, Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev and Andris Liepa. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the collection has grown almost six-fold, mostly due to the fact that the Historical Stage was closed for the reconstruction, allowing numerous costumes from the wardrobe departments to be inspected and conserved. Simon Virsaladze and Fyodor Fedorovsky are just a few of prominent costume designers who worked at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The collection

Currently, the museum's collection amounts to about 200 thousand units. It includes sketches of costumes and decorations, layouts for performances of the XIX-XXI centuries, costumes and personal belongings of prominent artists, photographs, posters, and much more.

According to Lidiya Kharina, the director of the Bolshoi Theatre’s museum, today the costumes get into the museum when a performance is no longer running. The costume department invites the museum’s employees to choose the most spectacular costumes from the performance which then is added to collection.

Just like any other museum items, costumes require storage conditions with certain temperature and humidity: the temperature should be 18 to 20°C, humidity – 50 to 55%.

Artistic director Fyodor Fedorovsky
The name of Fyodor Fedorovsky is associated with a whole epoch in the history of the Bolshoi Theatre. Not only did he create stage sets and costumes, but also acted as the manager of the artistic and technical department, and later – as the art director of the Bolshoi Theatre. It is due to this outstanding artist that the workshops of the Bolshoi Theatre were created, including the model workshop, the chemical and dye laboratory, as well as the properties and textile shops. Upon his initiative, the museum of the Bolshoi Theatre was established in 1918 to keep the sketches and the finest specimens of finished costumes and properties for young craftsmen to learn from. 

1921

Sketch of Odette costume, "Swan Lake" ballet

The sketch is by Fyodor Fedorovsky, the costume was never produced.

The only surviving sketch of Fedorovsky for the unrealized production of the Swan Lake ballet (1921) is a remarkable example of the Russian avant-garde in the area of a theatrical costume. The ballet tutu of Odile seems to be composed of large crystals, the sharp edges of which shimmer with contrasting colors. There is not a single smooth line. The geometry of cubism reigns here.

1927

Opera Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky. Sketch of the decorations “Duma.” Final scene by Fyodor Fedorovsky

As an Artistic Director Fedorovsky also created decorations for opera and ballet performances.

1948

Costume for Irina Arkhipova as Mniszek, "Boris Godunov" opera

It was designed by Fyodor Fedorovskiy.

1948


Costume for Alexander Vedernikov as Boris, "Boris Godunov" opera

"Boris Godunov" is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky based on the drama of the same name by Aleksandr Pushkin.

The costume was designed by Fyodor Fedorovskiy.

1953

Costume for a choir member, "Prince Igor" opera

Fedorovsky created hundreds of costumes while at the Bolshoi. This costume was designed by Fyodor Fedorovskiy.

1955

The Golden Curtain

Fedorovsky was famous not only for costumes and decorations, but also for stage curtains. Based on his sketches one was made in 1937. The second one - the famous "golden" curtain - which became one of the symbols of the Bolshoi Theater, was made in 1955.

The ornament of fabric had images of a golden star, a red banner, the word "USSR," and a lyre against the background of the phrase "Be glorified my native land!" The pattern was one and a half meters long and three meters wide, was repeated 26 times on the tapestry. The total area of the curtain was almost five hundred square meters and it weighed more than a ton. It was admired by several generations of spectators of the Bolshoi Theatre.

The curtain has been arranged only in 1955. It has been used till 2005 when the Theatre has been closed for the reconstruction. Now it is kept at the Bolshoi Theatre Museum.

1973

Costume for M. Maslov as Grigoriy Gryaznoy, "The Tsar’s Bride" opera

“The Tsar's Bride” is the 10th opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The costume was designed by Fedor Fedorovskiy and N. Fedorovskaya.

1976

Costume for Lev Vernigora as Prince of Galicia, "Prince Igor" opera

"Prince Igor" is an opera written and composed by Alexander Borodin.

The costume was designed by Fyodor Fedorovskiy.

Artistic director Simon Virsaladze
An outstanding theatrical artist Simon Virsaladze made a real revolution in the sphere of ballet art design at the Bolshoi Theatre. His stage design for Yury Grigorovich’s performances including The Stone Flower, The Legend of Love, The Nutcracker, Spartacus, Ivan the Terrible, The Golden Age, and The Swan Lake, is an inseparable part of the drama. People putting into life the artist’s ideas still work at the Bolshoi Theatre’s workshops. Virsaladze would accept all the colours of the costume fabrics personally. A special colour grid was developed by his order at the Textile Industry Research Institute. It was delivered to the dye-houses, the craftsmen dyed, and Virsaladze accepted the colours, checking them against the sketches. Those who saw that say that is was a spectacular dramatic sight. All the complex colours are still called “Virsaladze colours” by the Bolshoi’s craftsmen and artists.

1971

Costume for Sergei Radchenko as Vizier, "The Legend of Love" ballet

The costume was designed by Simon Virsaladze.

Despite his love to particular colours, his works never featured any vibrant, blatant colours – everything is dialled down, weathered, and ennobled.

1983

Costume for Nina Ananiashvili as Odile, "Swan Lake" ballet

The costume was designed by Simon Virsaladze.

"Swan Lake" is a ballet composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky in 1875-76. Despite its initial failure, it is now one of the most popular of all ballets in the world.

1995

Costume for Nikolai Tsiskaridze as the Nutcracker, "The Nutcracker" ballet

The costume was designed by Simon Virsaladze.

Virsaladze's favourite colours were gold, red, and black.

1995

Costume for Nikolai Tsiskaridze as the Evil Genius, "Swan Lake" ballet

The costume was designed by Simon Virsaladze.

Most recent additions to the collection
Some of the most recent additions to the collection were created by the Bolshoi's lead costume designer Elena Zaitseva. 

Elena Zaitseva

Born in Saint-Petersburg. In 1991, she completed her studies at the faculty of theatre production at the Saint-Petersburg Academy of Theatre Art. In 1997, she became costume designer for the Mariinsky Theatre. As designer-technologist, she participated in all the productions for this period including. In 2003, she joined the Bolshoi Theatre as chief specialist in the design, production and exploitation of theatre costumes. She created scenic dresses for more than 50 productions, received recognition from both the public and critics.

Elena Zaitseva supervises the team of more than 300 costume designers, male and female wardrobe masters, makeup artists, seamstresses, milliners, shoemakers and dye-house masters.

2015

“A Hero of Our Time” ballet
In the photo: Igor Tsvirko (Pechorin), Olga Smirnova (Bela).

The ballet "The Hero of Our Time" is the result of a rather unexpected creative union. In ballet, unlike opera, they rarely resort to the help of theater directors, choreography and staging are taken care of by one person - a choreographer. In the "Hero" the choreography was staged by Yuri Posokhov and Kirill Serebrennikov served as the director. Music specially for this performance was written by composer Ilya Demutsky. The result was impressive, "The Hero of Our Time" received the highest state theater award, "Golden Mask," in the category "Best Performance of the Year."

The costumes were designed by Elena Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov.

2015

“A Hero of Our Time” ballet

In the photo: Denis Savin (Grushnitsky), Ruslan Skvortsov (Pechorin), Svetlana Zakharova (Mary).

The ballet, staged in the year of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lermontov, perfectly conveys the nervous, emotional, tragic essence of the work, which is considered to be the first lyrical and psychological novel in the Russian prose.

The costumes were designed by Elena Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov.

“A Hero of Our Time” ballet
at the Bolshoi Theatre, Russia

2015

Costume of Pechorin, “A Hero of Our Time” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov.

2015

Costume of Bela, “A Hero of Our Time” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov.

2015

Costume of Princess Mary, “A Hero of Our Time” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov.

2012

“Jewels: Emeralds” ballet

In the photo: Evgenia Obraztsova, Vladislav Lantratov.

“Jewels” is one of George Balanchine's most beloved ballets in Russia. It is is not surprising: the high point of the ballet is the theme of the Russian classical school, close to our artists, from which Balanchine, the greatest choreographer of the 20th century, came out.

The costumes were designed by Elena Zaitseva.

“Jewels: Emeralds” ballet
at the Bolshoi Theatre, Russia

2012

Women’s costume for “Jewels: Emeralds” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva.

2012

Men’s costume, “Jewels: Emeralds” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva.

2012

“Jewels: Diamonds” ballet

In the photo: Olga Smirnova, Semyon Chudin.

“Jewels” consist of three parts: emeralds - green, rubies - red and diamonds - white. Balanchine is more than ever thrilled with the possibilities of a three-part form: three parts for the music of three more than different composers are so autonomous that they are often given as separate ballets, and at the same time they are united by a common idea that the true volume is received only in a holistic version.

The costumes were designed by Elena Zaitseva.

"Jewels: Diamonds” ballet
at the Bolshoit Theatre, Russia"

2012

Men’s costume for “Jewels: Diamonds” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva.

2012

Women’s costume, “Jewels: Diamonds” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva.

2012

“Jewels: Rubies” ballet

In the photo: Ekaterina Krysanova, Vyacheslav Lopatin.

Even the costumes-the long tunics of Romanticism in the Emeralds, the short skirts of the Rubies and the classic ballet skirts of Diamonds, combined together, reveal a multitude of semantic layers: three cultures, three ballet periods, three forms and three types of dancers.

The costumes were designed by Elena Zaitseva.

“Jewels: Rubies” ballet
at the Bolshoi Theatre, Russia

2012

Men’s costume for “Jewels: Rubies” ballet

The costume was designed by Elena Zaitseva.

Over the time, new stars and new performances appear at the theatre, so the collection will never cease to be enlarged.

Credits: Story

The Bolshoi Theatre
The Museum of the Bolshoi Theatre
http://www.bolshoi.ru

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile