Boris Pokrovsky, the nonagenarian artistic director of the Moscow Chamber Opera, was a leading light at the Bolshoi in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, before devoting his "retirement" years to promoting the art of chamber opera.
Opened in 1972, the Theatre began life with a program of revivals of 18th Century Russian operas, with the company adopting many of the working methods of the period, particularly as regards the flexibility of the performers and the strong bond between members of the company. Pokrovsky, who has the reputation of being fierce, exacting and uncompromising, had a clear, individual vision of how an opera company should work, and members require several years of training to adapt to his unique style.
Now the theatre's repertoire is probably the most diverse and innovative in Moscow, with Russian rarities playing alongside European favourites, all sung in their original languages. Particularly famous is the company's production of Shostakovich's The Nose, based on Gogol's short story, which Pokrovsky helped the composer to develop. Whatever is playing, the Chamber Opera Theatre is guaranteed to give opera lovers an intriguing and unusual evening of high-quality music and drama.
Since 1997, the company has been housed in a state-of-the-art theatre on Nikolskaya Ulitsa, with a transforming stage that can be set up in the round, proscenium, traverse etc. Depending on the format, the auditorium seats from 150 to 240.