The difference between a large theater and a small theater.

It is not for nothing that Moscow is called the third Rome. It is a legendary city, a warrior city that has been reborn more than once from ashes and dust. It contains hundreds of historical sites, known both to the whole world and only to a small circle of the elite. And if we talk about the world cultural heritage, then it rightfully includes two of the oldest and most famous theaters in Russia - the Bolshoi and Maly. And by the way, not even all Muscovites know how the Bolshoi Theater differs from the Maly Theater. Well, it's not about the size of the matter? Let's try to clarify this issue.

Historical background

Both theaters trace their ancestry back to the distant 18th century. The first was the Maly Theater (1756). By the highest decree of Her Imperial Majesty Elizabeth I: "... We have now commanded to establish a Russian theater for the presentation of tragedies and comedies..." By the way, the Maly Theater was generally the first official and public institution of this kind in the Russian Empire. The current theater building was officially opened in 1824.

The birth of the Bolshoi Theater was delayed by exactly 20 years. In 1776, Prince Pyotr Vasilyevich Urusov received permission from Empress Catherine II to build this center of Russian stage culture. The prince began construction of the theater, which was opened with appropriate fanfare in 1780 (Petrovskaya st.). The building was rebuilt and even moved more than once. The theater complex that we know has existed since 1825.

Both main architectural ensembles were created by different architects and, naturally, according to different projects. The Bolshoi was built according to the developments of Professor A. Mikhailov, partially supplemented by the architect O. Bove. Over the course of its two-hundred-year history, it has been completed, rebuilt, reconstructed more than once, but in general terms it has retained its original appearance.

The architect AF Elkinsky was engaged in the Maly Theater, who converted the mansion of the merchant Vargin for it. The already mentioned Mr. O. Bove also noted in this case. The project was based on his sketches. The theater took its final form in 1838-40 with the light hand of the famous Russian architect Konstantin Ton, the favorite of Tsar Nicholas I.

Almost immediately after its opening, both temples of Melpomene determined for themselves the genre, the direction of theatrical art. Accordingly, different internal structures were created.


Today it is a huge monumental building with a recognizable appearance, probably familiar to every Russian. After the last reconstruction, without losing a single gram of its historical beauty, the theater turned into a modern building, incorporating all the latest technological advances. The historic hall has a capacity of about 1800 people. The total number of the troupe is over 900 artists.

The Bolshoi Theater specializes exclusively in two genres - opera and ballet. And if the successes in the opera are very impressive, then in the ballet they are simply grandiose. The ballet of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia (official name) is rightfully considered the best in the world!

Bolshoi gave the world such stars as M. M. Plisetskaya, E. S. Maksimova, V. V. Vasiliev, E. V. Obraztsova, I. K. Arkhipova... There is not enough space on the page to list all the celebrities of the theater who danced and sang on its stage.

We can describe the significance of the legendary theater of Russia for a long time, but in order to understand what is the difference between the Bolshoi Theater and the Maly Theater, it is time to go directly to the State Academic Maly Theater of Russia.


In terms of its architectural scale and capacity, the Maly Theater is noticeably inferior to its "colleague" in the field of performing arts. However, it is also very popular.

The Maly Theater specializes in drama. For its more than two centuries of existence, it has probably staged all the more or less known dramatic works of mankind.

Many talented artists and directors have worked within its walls. It is enough to recall such names as I. V. Ilyinsky, E. A. Bystritskaya, M. I. Zharov and many, many others to understand that the significance of this theatrical sanctuary for Russia can hardly be overestimated.


Never, in the entire history of their existence, in these theaters has not been a unified leadership. Although in Soviet times, there were weak attempts to unite the two lights of cultural life under one umbrella. But, fortunately, this did not happen. For there is still a difference in the "career guidance" of each theater. And here "narrow specialists" should work.

Today VG Urin, an experienced administrator, who worked a lot in the musical and dance direction and has an undoubted organizational talent, is the director of the Bolshoi. For more than one year, the talented leader and great actor Yuri Solomin has been at the helm of the Maly Theater.

The difference between the Bolshoi and the Maly theaters

In conclusion, let's create a table and enter into it all the information we know.

Maly Theater Bolshoi Theater
Historical birthday - 1756 (decree of Elizabeth I)Founded 20 years later, in 1776, with the favor of Empress Catherine II
The theater building is relatively small, which and is reflected in the nameBolshoi is much larger than its older brother in size, in the number of artists and staff involved
Dramatic performances constitute the main repertoire of Maly. Many artistic celebrities appeared on its stage, considering it a high honorThe Bolshoi Theater specializes in musical performances. Opera and ballet are two directions in which they reached unprecedented heights
The leaders of both theaters have always been different people. Big and Small never united under one umbrella