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Circus on Fontanka

circus1 120 years ago, on 26th December 1877 there was the opening of the Circus-on-Fontanka, the first Russian building of stone specified for the circus, the architect being V. A. Kenel.

The idea of the stone circus occurred to the Italian circus actor, rider and trainer Gaetano Ciniselli, being the head of a large circus family first arrived in St.Petersburg on tour in 1847. The building of the new circus was considered one of the most beautiful circus buildings in Europe.

circus1 Ciniselli's Circus, called so before the Revolution, played a remarkable role in the development of circus art in Russia. It represented the best circus actors from all over the world. Among them were the famous clowns Billy Hyden and Jacomino, the grotesque rider Mademoiselle Adel and the air gymnast Miss Zinobia, the rider James Fillies, being the idol of the society, the Russian clowns and trainers the Durov brothers, Anatoly and Vladimir.

circus1 The 20s and 30s were the years of making the Soviet circus. Though the playbills still contained some foreign names, Soviet actors gained the leading position at the circus arena. Since August 1928, Leningrad Circus s building houses also the Circus and Variety Art Museum (now called the Circus Art Museum) initiated by the teacher of the Theatre School V.Ya. Andreyev. It was the first and the only establishment of its kind in the world, and up to now the Museum remains a unique collection concentrating the materials and documents reflecting the history of both domestic and foreign circuses.

St.Petersburg Circus is one of the leading spectacular circuses of the country. It is here that the pantomimes, topic performances and performances for children are created. Among the most significant productions one should mention the three part review "Parade Allais" dedicated to the 100-jubilee of Leningrad Circus (1977), the date being the occasion to reward the Circus with the Order of Peoples' Friendship; fairy pantomime "Ruslan and Ludmila" (1979); the circus play "The Most Joyful Day" after A.P. Chekhov's story "Kashtanka" (1985). Among the latest productions noteworthy are "Masters 13" (1993). "Guarantee of Success''' (1994), "Circus Jockey and Queen of the Arena"(1995), "Today Here, Tomorrow There" (1997), plays for children "Do Not Touch Le Monti" (1994), "We Do Know These Tales" (1996), "Take the Bull by the Horns", "House without Comers" (1997) etc.

Address: Fontanka river, 3

Nearest subway: Nevsky prospect

Call: (812) 210-41-98, 210-43-90

Fax: (812) 314-80-59


(c) 2000