Mamontov's Private Opera

The Search for Modernism in Russian Theater

by Olga Haldey

Published by: Indiana University Press

416 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.50 in, 45 b&w illus.

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253354686
  • Published: June 2010


  • eBook
  • 9780253004345
  • Published: June 2010


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 Bohème, 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 Drawing on a wealth of unpublished primary sources and evidence from art and theater history, Olga Haldey paints a fascinating portrait of a railway tycoon turned artiste and his pioneering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.