The Taganka TheatreRussian: Teatr na Taganke or Театр на Таганке, located at the intersection of Zemlyanoy ValRussian: Земляной Вал and Verkhnyaya Radishchevskaya StreetRussian: Verkhnyaya Radischevskaya ulitsa or Верхняя Радищевская улица, has certainly had its glory days. Today, it continues to uphold the traditions of its founder and director Yuri Lyubimov. The Taganka Theatre makes use of the talents of brilliant actors, great music, choreographed dancing as well as circus acts – all these features make it a theatre worth visiting.
Officially founded in 1946, the theatre was reborn in 1964 when the legendary director Yuri Lyubimov was appointed to take it in a new direction. At that time, Moscow was going through an extraordinary surge in cultural life, with the appearance of a galaxy of young, ambitious actors who offered performances different to what the public had previously seen. Around this time, the Taganka Theatre managed to break into Moscow’s cultural life with Yuri Lubimov’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Person from SzechwanRussian: Dobryi chelovek iz Sezuana or Добрый человек из Сезуана, which soon became a favourite and has been staged to a full house ever since. The Taganka has enjoyed the work of legendary actors such as Vladimir Vysotsky, Valery Zolotukhin and Veniamin Smekhov.
Lyubimov and Vysotsky at the Taganka theatre
The Taganka Theatre has revived the traditions established by Vakhtangova Russian actor and theatre director who founded the Vakhtangov Theatre and Meyerkholda Russian and Soviet theatre director, actor and theatrical producer, and the performances staged here have always been filled with creative freedom and innovative approaches. Familiar with the acting methods of Yevgeny Vakhtangov and Konstantin Stanislavsky, Lyubimov merged these methods together while implementing elements of Brecht’s theatrical style. The Taganka’s performances are thus able to fully engage the audience in what is happening on stage.
Most performances run without a curtain, using minimalistic stage settings and complex technical structures designed by leading Russian artists S. Barkhin, D. Borovsky, E. Kochergin and E. Steinberg. Together with Yuri Lyubimov, they contributed to the creation of Taganka’s history, staging high-profile productions such as M. Lermontov’s A Hero of Our TimeRussian: Geroy nashego vremeni or Герой нашего времени, A. Voznesensky’s AntiworldsRussian: Antimiry or Антимиры, M. Bulgakov’s The Master and MargaritaRussian: Мастер и Маргарита, the banned production of Boris Mozhaev’s AliveRussian: Zhivoy or Живой, and many others.
Bright and versatile, the Taganka troupe display a wide array of talents, including excellent singing, and a sense of rhythm and pantomime. Some shows even feature shadow theatre. Many actors made their debuts on this stage and later gained public recognition and fame (including Alla Demidova, Boris Khmelnitsky, Anatoliy Vasilyev, etc.), but it was Vladimir Vysotskya Russian singer-songwriter, poet, and actor who was one of the theatre’s biggest stars. Every show starring Vysotsky guaranteed a full house, with queues of people trying to get extra tickets. In 1971, Lyubimov’s adaptation of Hamlet became a nation-wide event starring Vysotsky as Hamlet, Alla Demidova as Gertrude and Veniamin Smekhov as Claudius.
Split and Search for a new path
The Taganka Theatre remained one of Moscow’s most popular theatres until the late 1970s. In 1984, Yuri Lyubimov, who had gone abroad, was replaced by Anatoly Efros, and a few years later, Nikolay Gubenko was appointed as the theatre’s new artistic director. During the Perestroykaa political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s until 1991 years, the Taganka Theatre faced a series of crises resulting in a split within the troupe in 1992 after Lyubimov’s return to Russia. Part of the troupe led by Gubenko formed a new theatre called ‘Fellowship of Taganka ActorsRussian: Sodruzhestvo aktyorov Taganki or Содружество актеров Таганки’, whereas the remainder stood by Lyubimov, who abandoned the theatre in a scandalous circumstances in 2011, three years before his death.
Over the last few years, the Taganka has been going through some challenging times: the theatre, headed by its new artistic director Irina Apeksimova, along with actors, including Marina Politseymako, Anna Agapova and Ivan Ryzhikov, is seeking its place in the rapidly changing world. The main repertoire still consists of productions staged by Lyubimov: Brecht’s legendary The Good Person From Szechwan; Eugene Onegin interweaving Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse, well-known classic opera arias and commentaries by Vladimir Nabokov and Yuri Lotman and The Master and Margarita, the world’s first stage adaptation of the eponymous novel by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Once occupied by one of Moscow’s first cinemas, VulkanRussian: Вулкан, the building housing the theatre was reconstructed in the 1970s and 1980s by architects A. Anisimov, Y. Gnedovsky and others, who were awarded the State Prizes of the USSR and the International Architecture Academy award for their work on this project. Today, the theatre has three auditoriums, seating 800, 500 and 150 people respectively. The main stage also features a transformable auditorium. As of 2015, there is a street called Vysotsky StreetRussian: ulitsa Vyisotskogo or улица Высоцкого nearby, with building No 3 housing the Vladimir Vysotsky MuseumRussian: Muzey V.S. Vysotskogo or Музей В.С. Высоцкого.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com