Walking along Bolshaya Dmitrovka. Where Isadora Duncan danced and Doctor Zhivago lived

December 9, 2021

Since the XVII century, the Moscow nobility began to settle on Bolshaya Dmitrovka street: Dolgorukovs, Golitsyns, Urusovs, Saltykovs. Later, their manor houses began to be passed into the hands of merchants. Noble coats of arms disappeared from the pediments, and signs of new homeowners appeared on the walls: Khludovs, Solodovnikovs, Lyapins.

At the end of the XIX century, Bolshaya Dmitrovka became one of the noisiest night streets in Moscow. There was a Korsh’s Theater in Bogoslovsky (now Petrovsky) Lane (today the Theater of Nations is located in this building), where cabs gathered in the evenings. They occupied the entire alley and stood on the sides of Bolshaya Dmitrovka waiting for audience coming out after the end of the performances.

The street got its name in honor of Dmitrovskaya Sloboda, which was developed here by the XIV century. In the 1920s, it was named after the French revolutionary Eugene Potier, and from 1937 to 1994 — the poet Alexander Pushkin. Today Bolshaya Dmitrovka is considered to be one of the theater streets of Moscow — the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Academic Musical Theater, the Moscow Operetta Theater and the new stage of the Bolshoi Theater are located on it.

The Solodovnikov Theater building

Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, house 6

The theatrical history of the building, in which the Moscow Operetta Theater is located began at the end of the XIX century. Before that, there was a shop here, and even earlier the Shcherbatovs — Shakhovskys manor. In 1863, it was purchased by one of the richest merchants of the capital — Gavrila Solodovnikov. He rebuilt the main house and opened Au bon marché (translated from French — At affordable prices) shop in it. 20 years later, Solodovnikov ordered Konstantin Tersky to rebuild the building for a theater. The four-storey building housed a five-tiered hall for 3,100 spectators.

In 1896, the first opera theatrical concern in Russia was opened in the theater, which was financed by Savva Mamontov. It was here that the premieres of the first Moscow productions of the operas — The Snow Maiden and The Pskovite Woman by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Khovanshchina by Modest Mussorgsky, The Maid of Orleans by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and The Stone Guest by Alexander Dargomyzhsky — took place. Fyodor Chaliapin performed in this building for the first time in Moscow. And on May 6, 1896, the first cinema show in Moscow was held here: films by the Lumiere brothers were shown including the famous Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat Station.

In 1907, the theater burned down. The Moscow Art Nouveau master Traugot Bardt restored the building. A year later, the Zimin Opera House was opened here, where ballet theatre productions were also shown — Mikhail Fokin's troupe performed here, Matilda Kshesinskaya and Isadora Duncan danced. After the October Revolution, the theater changed its name many times. The Moscow Operetta Theater has been located in the building since 1961.

The Myasoedovs’ city manor

Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, house 8, buildings 1-3, 6

The history of the Myasoedovs’ estate is also connected with the theater. In 1829, the Directorate of the Imperial Theaters was located in the main building, and a year later the Moscow Theater School was opened. At various times, the actress Glikeria Fedotova, actor Mikhail Shchepkin, director of the Imperial theaters Vladimir Telyakovsky lived in the house. In 1895, here, the nephew of the former owner of the house, Lev Tolstoy, read the newly written play ‘The Power of Darkness’ to the artists of the Maly Theater.

After 1917, the house housed the Management of State Theaters and the Committee for the Protection of State Foreign Instruments. Since 1948, the main building has housed the State Theater Library, later renamed the Russian State Library of Arts. In the extensions and back wings there were apartments of singers Nadezhda Obukhova and Ivan Kozlovsky, ballet dancer Viktor Smoltsov and orientalist historian Boris Zakhoder.

The two-storey main building of the manor in the classicism style was built in the middle of the XVIII century on the place of the boyar palaty, probably designed by Matvey Kazakov. The central part of the facade is decorated with a risalite with a pilaster portico. The manor bears the name of its first owner — privy Councilor Nikolai Myasoedov. After the fire of 1812, the manor was purchased by a collector of ancient manuscripts and books — Fyodor Tolstoy. Under him, the main building was reconstructed.

Zhivago tenement building

Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, house 12/1, buildings 1 and 3

The building has nothing to do with the Doctor Zhivago novel by Boris Pasternak, but a doctor by the name of Zhivago really lived here. Until 1917, the house was owned by the doctor Alexander Zhivago, a descendant of a merchant family. He was an avid bibliophile and collector — his collection of Egyptian ancientries was handed over to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts after the October Revolution. Alexander Zhivago himself went to work in the museum, where he conducted excursions and lectured on the history of the East until 1940. In 1952, while working on the novel, Boris Pasternak found out from the literary critic Sergei Durylin about the existence of a real doctor Alexander Zhivago.

"The news about the real, non-fictional Doctor Zhivago, whose existence was unknown to me, was especially fantastic for me," he wrote in his letter.

The architectural history of the house as we know just as it is now began in 1884, when it was rebuilt by Semyon Eybushits. The building acquired features of the neoclassical style. The facades were decorated with rust, the windows — with molded frameworks. However, at that time the house was three-storeyed — the fourth floor was built in Soviet times.

In the late XIX — early XX century, the ground floor was rented by shops, among which there were a wine shop, as well as ‘Notes’ and ‘Random things’ shops. The other floors were occupied by apartments.

The house of the Moscow Partnership for a Mortgage Loan

Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, house 22, building 1

This building is often referred to as Art Nouveau, although formally it refers to eclecticism. The facade is decorated with three triangular bay windows and arched niches with balconies. The bay windows and walls are lined with dark brown ceramic tiles, which contrasts with the light niches and colonnade at the fifth floor level. The balconies are decorated with stucco and metal patterns in the Art Nouveau style. Unusual for its time, the five-storey house appeared in 1904 on Bolshaya Dmitrovka. The project of the building was created by architect Alexander Ivanov, who also built the Hotel National in Moscow.

On the ground floor there were shops, a cash register and the office of the Moscow Partnership for mortgaging movable property, the second floor was occupied by the representative office of the "Cinematograph Teofil Pathe" company. On the fourth floor there was a millinery shop, and the other floors were occupied by spacious apartments. They had from five to 10 rooms, and they were equipped with hot water heating, baths and lavatories. In the house, elevators operated, basements housed storage rooms.

Levinson Trading House

Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, house 32, building 1

One look at this building and you can imagine yourself somewhere in Vienna. At least, the architect Adolf Erichson, working on the project, was inspired by the work of his Austrian colleague Max Fabiani. The customer of the house was Raphael Levinson, a timber and wooden furniture merchant.

The building was built in 1901. The facade has high windows, the central part is decorated with a risalite (a projection extending beyond the main line of the facade to its full height) with a large arched window on the first floor, rhyming with the same windows on the sides. The risalite is crowned by a balustrade. Above the wooden entrance doors there is a canopy on long metal chains. The building was originally three-storeyed, the fourth floor was added during reconstruction in the 1930s.

In the XIX century, the manor of Princess Elizabeth Golitsyna was on this place. The next owner, Baron Dmitry Shepping, rented out part of the premises to various organizations, including the Moscow Bicycle Club. There was also the doctors gathering in the building, which Anton Chekhov described in The Lady with the Dog story — in the ‘doctor's club’ they played cards in the evenings. At the end of the XIX century, the Moscow Chess Club settled in the house, where a rematch for the world Championship between German Emanuel Lasker and Austrian Wilhelm Steinitz took place from November 7, 1896 to January 11, 1897.

Source: mos.ru

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