History of a house

Mansion of the Shakhovskoy-Glebov-Streshnev families in the Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street



Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, 19 is a well-known address for the Muscovites. A quarter of a century ago the Musical Theatre Helikon-Opera directed by Dmitry Bertman was born there. From 2007 the theatre was under restoration and reconstruction and will be ready to welcome the lovers of opera arts in November 2015 in the renewed historical building and a new hall, equipped with the latest theatrical facilities.

Helikon-Opera is located on the territory of the oldest Moscow estate. Its history began in 1730s, when knyaz Vasily Nikitich Repnin built a two-storeyed mansion in the Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street. The thick stone walls stood out the 1812 Fire of Moscow and are now a part of the existing building. The facade and interior décor of the main building date back to mid-1880s and late 1940s.

The mansion was in the possession of the Repnins, the Dashkovs, the Glebovs, the Streshnevs and the Shakhovskoys. These people held important public positions, had highest ranks in the Russian army, possessed significant fortunes. The nobility within the court circle hosted the members of the Emperor’s family and the aristocracy in the Nikitskaya. Such Russian Empresses were there as: Catherine the Great, Maria Feodorovna, Elizabeth Alexeievna, and Alexandra Feodorovna. For several years the daughter-in-law of Princess Nastasya Mikhailovna Dashkova lived in her house — young Yekaterina Romanovna Dashkova, who would be the companion of Catherine the Great and one of the most remarkable women of the age of Enlightenment. Vocal art played an important role in the life of Yekaterina Dashkova. It is known, that Princess Yekaterina Romanovna used to sing at court of Catherina the Great and in the lounges of the high society. Denis Diderot listened to her romances and folk songs in Paris. In England, Ireland and Scotland, where Dashkova was living for a long time, she performed her own compositions: arias, spiritual anthem, adaptations of folk songs. In the Princess’s houses there were the musical instruments together with the note libraries, while in the Troitskoe mansion there were a home theatre and orchestra.

Yekaterina Dashkova

From 1743 to 1918 the mansion belonged to several generations of close relatives. Twice the owners turned out to be the last representatives of the famous families. In 1803 Elizaveta Petrovna Streshneva (by marriage Glebova) by permission of Aleksandr I obtained the right for herself and her two sons to have double surname Glebov-Streshnevs. They were the only left relatives of Tsaritsa Yevdokiya Lukyanovna Streshneva — the wife of Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich and the mother of Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich.

In 1864 after the death of childless Fyodor Petrovich Glebov-Streshnev, his heiress — niece Evgeniya Fyodorovna Shakhovskaya got his surname. The triple surname-holder E. Shakhovskaya-Glebova-Streshneva was the host of the mansion in the Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street till 1918. The pragmatic Princess leased out the mansion in the center of Moscow. In the main building she constructed a parade While Column Hall for holding various meetings, banquets and weddings. The hall was not enough equipped for the opera plays, nevertheless it was the main stage of Helikon-Opera during 17 years. There the theatre received the recognition of wide audience.

Evgeniya Shakhovskaya

In early 1880s E. Shakhovskaya-Glebova-Streshneva bought the neighboring land parcel and built a theatre upon it (nowadays it is the Vladimir Mayakovsky Moscow Academic Theatre), which she also began to lease out. Its eventful destiny is worthy of another story. It should be just noted that in 1898 on the stage of the Nikitsky Theatre the first Russian private opera theatre company of Savva Mamontov made its performances. The repertoire was based on operas by N. Rimski-Korsakov, such as “Sadko”, “The Maid of Pskov”, “The Snow Maiden”, “May Night” as well as “Khovanshchina” by M. Mussorgsky. In 1903 in the White Column Hall there was an organized meeting of actors of the S. Zimin opera troupe, while from 1905 to 1907 his famous team was performing on the stage of the Nikitsky theatre.

Sergey Zimin

In 1907-1912 the theatre was being taken on lease by actor and director Konstantin Nikolayevich Nezlobin. Simultaneously in the main building he opened an actor casting agency for the provincial theatres. In 1915 the Nezlobin’s agency was replaced by the Moscow Information and Statistical Office of the Imperial Russian Theatrical Society. Faina Ranevskaya, who was that time still Fanny Feldman, got her first engagement at its acting office.


Konstantin Nezlobin

In 1917 the Russian Theatrical Society sheltered the A. Tairov Chamber Theatre, which had found itself on the street. “Salome” by O. Wilde and “Konig Harlekin” by R. Lothar were performed on the stage of the White Column Hall. In 1920s the mansion formerly belonged to Princess Shakhovskaya was passed to the Union of Culture Workers. The mansion in the Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street remained a bright culture center of the capital all the following decades of the 20th century. For a long time there was a society of medical workers in it.

In 1990 a new chapter began in the glorious history of the building, the walls of which remember S. Rachmaninoff, C. Debussy, F. Chaliapin and L. Sobinov — it has become the home for the Moscow Musical Theatre Helikon-Opera.

 

 

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