This theatre, which has been running since 1927 and has occupied this 19th century building since the sixties, traditionally staged the classics of light opera, concentrating on the works of Lehar, Strauss, and Kalman, alongside "Soviet operetta", a genre perhaps best forgotten.
Nowadays the classics are performed alongside an increasing number of musicals. The first contemporary Russian musical, Metro, was premiered here, as was the Russian translation of the hugely popular Notre Dame de Paris, and this Western genre is becoming more and more popular. The leads in these productions are often taken by Russian pop stars.
These newer productions, which are helping to fill the 1,600 seat auditorium with a younger audience, may help secure the future of the theatre. The building itself, which has been remodeled several times, is not in the best state of repair - although the sound and lighting equipment is relatively hi-tech - and there has been talk of complete reconstruction, possibly leaving the theatre without a home.
This is a Moscow institution, but for visitors to the city it can only really be recommended to those with a burning passion for light musical theatre.