Mamontov's Private Opera

Mamontov's Private Opera

The Search for Modernism in Russian Theater
Olga Haldey
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/16/2010
Format: Hardback 45 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-35468-6
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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 Drawing on a wealth of unpublished primary sources and evidence from art and theater history, Olga Haldey paints a fascinating portrait of a railway tycoon turned artiste and his pioneering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.

Author Bio

Olga Haldey is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Maryland, College Park.


“[Haldey's] research will be appreciated not only by historians of Russian music and theater, but also by readers interested in Russian culture of the Silver Age.”
 — Malcolm Hamrick Brown, Indiana University

“Interdisciplinary in the most thorough-going way.”
 — David Haas, Univeristy of Georgia

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration and Translation

1. The Silver Age and the Legacy of the 1860s
2. Serving the Beautiful
3. Echoes of Abramtsevo
4. Visual Impressions
5. Opera as Drama
6. From Meiningen to Meyerhold
7. Politics, Repertory, and the Market
8. Faces of the Enterprise

Appendix A. Brief Chronology of Savva Mamontov's Life and Career
Appendix B. Selected Premieres and Revivals at the Moscow Private Opera
Works Cited

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