The Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard is one of the most grandiose historical constructions of the modern century, which was erected as far back as the end of the 19th century and continues to thrive to this day. This is an amazing place for spectacular performances, where outstanding people and skilled craftsmen from all over Russia gathered: artists, equilibrists, trainers, jugglers, kings of laughter, clowns and many other talented talents! Fascinatingly well-coordinated work of circus artists, like a beautiful song, captivates the audience, inspiring a sense of respect for human labor. After the circus performance they take with them a sense of joy, faith in the strength of man, in his boundless possibilities.
The history of the Circus on the Tsvetnoy Boulevard stretches from October 20, 1880, and for its history passed a big and difficult path.
It was under the guidance of Meddoks that the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theater was built in 1776-1789 by the architect Christian Rosberg. The theater was named after Petrovka Street, at the beginning of which he stood on a cramped site, surrounded by chaotic buildings.
Of course, at first the construction allocated for the circus was rather small and modest: there were only five rows of chairs, lodges, a mezzanine, second places with wooden unnumbered benches and a standing gallery. Then the building was repeatedly adjusted and completed, but its entire long century served as a circus.
On the opening performance were: gymnast Henrietta, who juggled on a tight wire, Mrs. Truzzi, jumping on a bareback horse, rider Freddie Salamonsky, clowns-gymnasts brothers Pascali, and also Albert Salamonsky with 14 trained stallions. Initially, the vast majority of the audience were representatives of the Moscow merchant class. But, at the same time, Salamonsky was attracted to the circus by the needy people, making cheap tickets for the gallery.
It should be noted that before the Salamon Circus was not considered a place for children's entertainment. Therefore, Salomon first came to the fact that children are a wonderful audience for the circus. He made sure that the morning performances were arranged, and that they were held in accordance with the level of their children's perception. The circus every Sunday gave children's performances.
The circus continuously and actively conducted its activities. In search of new ideas for numbers and performances, there was a tense struggle for mastering new genres, for ideological, artistic and musical design of whole representations.
The creative life of the circus arena was supplemented by the renewed forms of artistic service of the broad masses of spectators. The boundaries of the circus arena unprecedentedly moved apart. Masters of the circus began to take their vivid art to the "green" theaters, to stadiums with their many thousands of people. In the practice of the circus appeared an interesting innovation - colorful circus performances on artificial ice.
Finally, in 1919, with the advent of Soviet power, the circus was nationalized and became the first public property of the country.
Two factors, in our opinion, had a decisive impact on the development of the young Soviet circus. First, the concern of the government and the public about the truly folk art of the circus; secondly, the wide involvement of authors, artists, and directors in the circus. This was an era of increased interest and attention to circus art.
It was felt sharply that a new day was coming for the circus "*, so later V. Lazarenko recalled this time.
In May 1919, the Professional Union of Artists (RABIS) was organized on the basis of the ROAVC and the new society of circus and stage artists created in 1917 "Scene and Arena". Professional organizations RABIS played a large role in the restructuring of the circus business, in improving the working conditions and life of artists.
The genre of clowning enjoyed special attention of the People's Commissar of Education A.V. Lunacharsky. He noted that "clowning is one of the tops of the comic. Bright, colorful, noisy, possessing the agility of monkeys, curiously playing on almost all instruments or surrounded by obedient animals, pouring out witty jokes, clowns-jesters of His Majesty of the people - a beautiful aesthetic spectacle. But we require more from the clown: in the updated circus the clown must have a high repertoire in his comic! The clown dares to be a publicist "* Therefore, on an arena the audience could see the famous clowns: Dmitry Alperov, Pencil, Boris Vyatkin, Leonid Kukso, Oleg Popov, Yuri Nikulin and Mikhail Shuidin. Separately it is necessary to say that the inextinguishable glory of Pencil began. In those years, "Pravda" was advertising theatrical Moscow. And every day only one line among them was unchanged: "On the arena - Pencil".
A significant role in organizing a huge number of performances played Arnold Grigorievich and Mark Solomonovich Mestechkin, who worked as directors of the circus.
The achievements of the masters of the Soviet circus were particularly bright during the international festival of circus art: for the first time in the history of this art, participants in one hundred and thirty-two best numbers - representatives of ten countries - went out to compete in the arena of the Warsaw Circus to show the heights of professional skills, their talent and performing culture. It is encouraging to note that our masters have won most of the prize places and gold medals here, and a year later - in Moscow, in the second international competition.
But of course, the brightest and most famous clown that the Moscow circus presented to the world was Yuri Nikulin.
Maxim Nikulin, the son of Yuri Nikulin, writes: "Why was his love for him nation-wide? Because he was a great clown? But he was not a great clown. Great ones are Pencil, Leonid Yengibarov, Oleg Popov, Gennady Makovsky, Konstantin Berman. And for what then?
He was a great man - that's what they loved him for. They love a person who can be seen and who can be seen behind the mask of their roles, whether it's Jura in the circus arena, whether it's Semyon Semyonitch or Balbes. When a person is seen, when there is sincerity in him, for this people like him, they are drawn to it. And the rest of all are masks that can be removed: today Hamlet, tomorrow Balbes and stuff. There was one trait in him that can only be envied, because it can not be learned and can not be learned. It's sincerity. "
In 1983, Yuri Nikulin was offered to become a director, and he agreed.
August 13, 1985 was the last grandiose performance in the old building of the circus, after which it was demolished. Later, a completely new Old Moscow Circus was opened with the program "Hello, Old Circus!"
Date December 14, 1996 - after the 75th anniversary of Yuri Nikulin was marked by the appropriation of the circus name "Moscow Circus of Nikulin on Tsvetnoy Boulevard." And in August 1997, after the death of Yu.V. Nikulin, his son Maxim Nikulin became the general director.
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