Moscow's second most influential musical company after the Bolshoi, the theatre was born in 1941 as Konstantin Stanislavsky's Opera Studio merged with the MKhAT Musical Studio led by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. Both studios had formed in the 1920s to assist the Bolshoi in its reform of the outdated opera conducting principles. The theatre occupies the former Counts Saltykov mansion, built in the 18th century and rebuilt several times since. The building at Ulitsa Bolshaya Dimitrovka (Bolshaya Dimitrovka Street) saw its latest major renovation after the 2003 fire. In keeping with its original intent, the theatre has consistently remained the foremost proving ground for musical experiments. It was here that many famous works of Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev premiered, and it was here that Russia saw its first western modern dance performances. The Musical Theatre's opera and ballet companies are deemed to be equally matched with their Bolshoi peers. This creative parity between Moscow's two premier musical theatres has remained in place for over a decade. Musical theatre fans are usually as excited about the opening nights at the theatre on Dimitrovka, as they are about Bolshoi premieres.