Mamontov's Private Opera: The Search for Modernism in Russian Theater
The Moscow Private Opera, founded, sponsored, and directed by Savva Mamontov (1841-1918), was one of Russia's most important theatrical institutions at the dawn of the age of modernism. It presented the Moscow premieres of Lohengrin, La Boh me, and Khovanshchina, among others; launched the career of Feodor Chaliapin; gave Sergei Rachmaninov his first conducting job; employed Vasily Polenov, Victor Vasnetsov, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, and Mikhail Vrubel as set designers; and served as a model for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Part commercial enterprise, part experimental studio, Mamontov's company revolutionized opera directing and design, and trained a generation of opera singers. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished primary sources and evidence from art and theater history, Olga Haldey paints a fascinating portrait of a railway tycoon turned artiste and his pioneering opera company.
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