In the Museum of Theatre and Music and its branches visitors will learn interesting facts about the history of Russian Theatre. There is a large collection of manuscripts, playbills, theatrical portraits, miniatures, etchings, set and costume designs
St.Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music is located in the building of the former Imperial Theatres Management, erected in the 1st half of the 19th century by the great architect Carlo Rossi. This building remains one of the principal exhibits of the museum. The facade windows of the museum overlook the Alexandrinsky Theatre - the centre of the architectural ensemble, - created by Rossi specifically for the theatre. The mission of the museum is to preserve and revive theatrical legends for every visitor.
In the museum and its branches (the N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov Museum, the F.I.Chaliapin Museum, the Samoilov Family Museum, the Museum of Music in the Sheremetev Palace) you can see portraits of famous theatre personalities of the past, theatre designs by well-known artists, posters, manuscripts, theatre props, set models - everything that will help you imagine the legendary drama and musical productions which no longer exist. Among the most significant personalities represented in the museum's collection are: directors Vs.Meyerhold and A.Tairov, actresses M.Savina and V.Komissarjevskaya, artists A.Benois and L.Bakst, K.Malevich and V.Tatlin, composers N.Rimsky-Korsakov and D.Shostakovich, singer F.Chaliapin, ballet masters M.Fokine and F.Lopukhov, dancers V.Nijinsky and M.Baryshnikov, A.Pavlova and G.Ulanova - to name but a few. Among the exhibits there are also private belongings of great composers, singers, and actors that help to reconstruct the atmosphere, in which they lived and worked. The unique collection of videotapes gives a chance to meet actors of other countries. The Museum of Music in the Sheremetev Palace preserves the memory about theatrical and musical traditions of the celebrated noble family of Sheremetev. Here one of the world's biggest collections of musical instruments is also located.
In all the buildings of the museum there are halls where concerts and performances, meetings with famous actors and singers, musicians and artists, take place. Museum's aim is to connect the past and the present. The museum not only preserves the memory of the old art, but also is a hospitable house for the modern art and probably a cradle for the art of the future. Non-surprisingly, a considerable number of productions, subsequently famous, were first presented here, and many future celebrities made their debut here.
The Memorabilia Department (8,000 exhibits) contains actors' personal belongings, decorations, orders and memorial medals, conductor's batons, articles of the 18-20th centuries theatre life, touching gifts of the audience to its idols - ballerinas Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, conductor Eduard Napravnik, singers Nikolai Figner and Ivan Yershov.
The gem of the Museum collection is a set of ballet shoes - from Maria Taglioni's to Natalia Makarova's. It allows one to trace the evolution of the female dancing technique.
There is also an extremely rare Collection of Theatrical Costumes, 2,000 in number. It reflects the artistic versatility of the different theatrical epochs. Here there are costumes of the legendary first night performance of M.Petipa's "Sleeping Beauty" (1890); the costumes of Fokin's ballets, designed by Benois, Bakst, Anisfeld, Golovin, Roerich; as well as the costumes for the experimental ballets of the 1920's- '30's of the choreographic innovator Fyodor Lopukhov.