The Stalingrad Musical Comedy Theatre had its first premiere in the former building of Tsaritsin’s Concordia Theatre, on the bank of the Tsaritsa River, in 1932. It was the operetta The Bondwoman by Nikolai Strelnikov. The company rolled out 13 premieres its first year, touring Moscow, Kiev and Kharkov. The subsequent seasons were just as successfUlitsa The company staged the works of such operetta classics as Carl Zeller, Robert Planquette, Franz Lehar, Imre Kalman, and Johann Strauss, as well as the operettas of modern composers: Sorochintsi Fair by Aleksey Ryabov, Wedding at Malinovka by Boris Aleksandrov, Golden Valley by Isaac Dunayevsky, and others. Then came the war. Everything the company had – props, costumes, even the building – was destroyed in the Battle of Stalingrad. Evacuating to Kazan and Omsk, the Stalingrad Musical Company Theatre continued to rehearse and perform. When Stalingrad was liberated, the company returned to the city intact. The Tractor Factory gave the company its recently renovated club building. The place was not very comfortable to work in. There was no heating, but the house was always packed for the company’s performances. The Stalingrad Musical Company Theatre was allotted a beautiful historical building on the embankment in 1952. The company’s repertoire continued to expand. The staged the operas The Bartered Bride by Bedrich Smetana and Sorochintsi Fair by Modest Mussorgsky, the ballets The Red Poppy by Reinhold Gliere and Esmeralda by Cesare Pugni, and many other works. Several great composers collaborated with the Stalingrad Musical Company Theatre in the 1960s and 1970s: Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi, Vladimir Semyonov, Nikolai Minh, and Konstantin Listov. The company won a USSR National Award for its production of the operetta The Snow Mountaintops Tune by Georgy Tsabadze in 1972, and won the same award again a few years later for the play Girl Hero Wanted by Veniambin Basner. The company’s musicians manned Volgograd’s first symphony orchestra.
The company’s building was closed for renovation in the early 1990s, which took five years. The Volgograd Musical Theatre had to perform on other people’s stages in the meantime, but its creative process continued nonstop. The company staged new productions and played concerts. The company officially became a “musical” theatre in 1995. In 2003, it won a Volgograd City Award for its musical The Great Heroism of Stalingrad, timed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Victory in the Battle of Stalingrad.
The Volgograd Musical Theatre has hosted the Interregional Christmas Festival of Young Musicians since the early 2000s. In 2001, it hosted the premiere of the Autumnal Volga opera festival, featuring opera soloists from Russia and the newly independent states. The first operetta festival named in honour of the People’s Artist of Russia Tamara Papina, an Honorary Citizen of the Hero City Volgograd, also took place at the Volgograd Musical Theatre in 2004. The Volgograd Musical Theatre has staged more than 400 shows in its lifetime, raising several generations of talented actors and musicians. The Volgograd Musical Theatre is currently led by head director Alexander Kutyavin, Merited Artist of Russia, and head conductor Vadim Venediktov, also a Merited Artist of Russia, who faithfully uphold the company’s high artistic standards.
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