For the first time at the Bolshoi Theatre – on the Chamber Stage – is the premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich’s only operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki.

Cheryomushki was born thanks to the "persistent, urgent requests" of the chief conductor of the Moscow Operetta Theatre, Grigory Stolyarov. Shostakovich began writing in September 1957. In the October of 1958, the composition was ready.

Artist of the Moscow Operetta Theatre Grigory Yaron recalled: "I, like everyone else, was waiting for the most difficult "Shostakovich-stile" music, with the sharpest harmonic combinations - and this was so simple! But there was so much taste and nobility in its simplicity! The troupe fell in love with the music from the very first day. It caused a real furore inside the theatre when the actors heard the orchestra’s performance of the music. Shostakovich's music smiled, laughed, danced, mocked, was naughty, and sometimes a little sad..."

The premiere took place on January 24, 1959 at the Moscow Operetta Theatre. Performances soon followed in Rostov-on-Don, Odessa, Sverdlovsk, Bratislava, Prague, Magadan, Zagreb, various cities of the GDR and Czechoslovakia. And after two years the film Cheryomushki (directed by Herbert Rappaport) was shot, based on the operetta.

The return of the composer to musical theatre after the "anti-formalist campaign" of the 30s and, moreover, his debut in the "light" genre was greatly and impatiently anticipated. According to the memoirs of Grigory Yaron, "the news that Shostakovich was writing an operetta was met with great interest. How? The composer who wrote the Seventh Symphony, and recently the Eleventh, suddenly composing an operetta?!! Wherever I went, the first question that I heard from people familiar and unfamiliar, of various ages and professions was: "How is Shostakovich’s operetta?"

The composer himself commented on his "sensational" appeal to the genre of operetta: "I believe that a real composer should try his hand at all genres.

The plot of the operetta Moscow, Cheryomushki was extremely relevant. At the heart of Vladimir Mass and Mikhail Chervinskyi’s libretto lie the comic ups and downs associated with the mass resettlement of Muscovites from old communal apartments to new residential quarters.

The operetta is distinguished with lively action, the clarity and simplicity of its music, and an abundance of different quotations. The witty (and sometimes completely unexpected) quoting of well-known melodies caused, according to the testimonies of the contemporaries, a huge comic effect. Shostakovich employs various musical forms in the operetta: romance, gallop, divertissement, and many dance genres.

The well-known theatre director Ivan Popovski, a student of Pyotr Fomenko, is working on the production at the Bolshoi. A master of synthetic theatre, combining words, music and painting, the author of smart, graceful, and aesthetic performances, he is known as a director with impeccable taste and a keen sense of theatrical space.
He made his debut at the Bolshoi in 2005 with a production of Prokofiev’s War and Peace.

The stage space of Cheryomushki is created by Sergei Tchoban, one of the most demanded architects in Russia and Germany. For Sergei Tchoban, this is his second performance at the Bolshoi Theatre – in 2019 he worked on the stage design of the performance Telephone. Medium, which also premiered on the Bolshoi Theatre Chamber Stage.

The musical director of the production is Pavel Klinichev, conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre and multiple times the laureate of The Golden Mask National Theatre Award.

The premiere series of performances will take place on March 25-28.