Costumes, furniture and stage property items designed by an outstanding artist of the “Silver Age” A. Golovin occupy one of the central places in the museum collection. It was thanks to his influence that Vs. Meyerhold was appointed director of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres in 1908. Prior to this appointment to the troupe of the Imperial Theatres, Meyerhold had never encountered Golovin in his work. On the stages of the Imperial Theatres (Alexandrinsky and Mariinsky) they created together 16 performances including such masterpieces as Moliere’s Don Juan (1910) and Lermontov’s drama The Masquerade (1917).
We can see not only photos, but also the genuine costumes of Yu. Yuriev, who played the principal role, in a special show-case dedicated to Don Juan. Next to it is placed the costume of Sganarel (K. Varlamov).
The main space of the hall is dedicated to The Masquerade. There are photos of all the scenes of the performance. A miraculously survived spacious collection of the genuine furniture designed at the theatre’s master shop after Golovin’s sketches is next to them: a screen with the “Devil’s eye,” a gilded portal mirror, an armchair from Arbenin’s house, an armchair and chairs from the masquerade and ballrooms, an armchair and chairs from the Prince Zvezdich’s room. The artist created grotesque images revealing the very gist of the circumstances in which the characters were acting through a refraction of features of various styles emblematic for the “empire epoch.”
Several dozens of costumes represent the main characters of the drama and create the colourful masquerade crowd surrounding and absorbing the heroes into its circulation. Visitors can see reproductions of the working sketches of the costumes on display in front of the central show-case and compare the artist’s design and its implementation.
The Masquerade was produced on February 25th, 1917 and became the very last performance of the imperial epoch in Russia. A funereal curtain went down in the end of the performance; this sign was appreciated by the audience as a symbol.
At the same time, The Masquerade was only in the beginning of its theatre life. Three more times – in 1926, 1932, and 1938, this performance had been renewed and altogether had lived on the Alexandrinsky Stage for three decades.