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Orpheus and Pickleherring in the Kremlin: The "Ballet" for the Tsar of February 1672
University of Washington, Seattle.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages. (slaviska språk)
2013 (English)In: Scando-Slavica, ISSN 0080-6765, E-ISSN 1600-082X, Vol. 59, no 2, 145-184 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article identifies and describes a pivotal event in the formation of the Russian court theatre: a performance in February 1672 for the Russian royal family given by a small group of foreign residents in Moscow. This performance (and another that followed in May) was the direct catalyst for the formation of Tsar Aleksej Michajlovič’s court theatre in October 1672. By examining a series of contemporary published accounts (printed newspapers and the 1680 work by Jacob Rautenfels) and unpublished diplomatic dispatches, we have not only been able to pinpoint the date for this event (16 Febr. 1672), but also establish the important connections between Western theatrical practice and the beginnings of staged theatre in Russia. Because some of the characters (or their actions) featured in this first Western-style performance appeared later in Tsar Aleksej’s regular court theatre (especially the stock comic figure Pickleherring), our work not only re-writes the pre-history of Russian theatre, but also contextualises the performances that followed. More broadly, the documents we use (some of which are newly discovered) show the importance to cultural historians of the communications revolution in Early Modern Europe, with its emphasis on the regular transmission of current news and information through newspapers and diplomatic dispatches, sources that have rarely been used for studies of early Russian culture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2013. Vol. 59, no 2, 145-184 p.
Keyword [en]
Russian court theatre, Muscovy, Pickleherring, 17th-century newspapers, diplomatic reports, Tsar Aleksej Michajlovič, Jacob Rautenfels (Reutenfels)
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Slavic Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209577DOI: 10.1080/00806765.2013.855350OAI: diva2:658535
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, RFP12-0055:1
Available from: 2013-10-22 Created: 2013-10-22 Last updated: 2015-09-23Bibliographically approved

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