St. Petersburg's Alexandrinsky Theatre is opening its 247th season on Monday.
For the theatre's leading actors, the season begins with a trip to the Sts. Peter and Paul's Cathedral, where they are to lay red roses to the grave of Empress Elizabeth I, the one who singed, back in 1755, a decree to form a dramatic troupe, and white roses to the grave of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, who gave her name to the theatre in the year 1837.
At midday sharp, the troupe gathers in the theatre's Royal Foyer to listen to the theatre's agenda for the current season being read out loud in the presence of Russia's Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi and St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev.
Professor Alexander Chepurov, who heads the literary section at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, told the following. The opening ritual was established five years ago. However, this time the tradition will be broken. The matter is that each new season was opened on August 30th, the theatre's birthday /it was on that day that Elizabeth I decreed to set up a theatre/. This year, the season begins earlier because the famous Russian producer Valery Fokin is about to start rehearsing Gogol's "The Inspector-General." The play, which the actors will rehearse beginning August 5th, is the first item in a program called "From Traditionalism to New Theatre" as drawn up by specialists from Russia's eldest state-owned theatre, the Alexandrinsky, and from Moscow's Vsevolod Meyerhold Center of Culture and Performing Arts.
According to Chepurov, the program consists of five plays that will be staged between 2002 and 2006. Apart from "The Inspector-General," the theatre will stage Sukhovo-Kobylin's "The Death of Tarelkin," Chekhov's "The Seagull," Tolstoi's "The Living Corpse," and Pushkin's "The Little Tragedies." Each of the plays mentioned had once debuted on the stage of the Alexandrinsky and became part of the classical repertoire of many Russian theatres.
Each play will be staged by Europe's best producers.