Interesting facts about the stage culture in the pre-revolutionary Crimea


The development of stage and stage design in the Crimea dates back to antiquity. One of the most ancient is the amphitheatre, built in the Crimea in the middle of the III century BC. The amphitheatre was designed for three thousand two hundred seats. The building has survived to the present day and is included in the museum complex of Chersonesos.

Theatres were of great importance in the life of ancient cities. According to archaeological data, in the Crimea, there was even a custom of standing in the burials of Prileps in the form of theatrical masks, which indicates a lively understanding of the theatre.

There is much interesting information about the development of scenic and stage design art on the peninsula and during the Crimean Khanate.

According to the Turkish traveller Evli Chelebi, who was in the Crimea in 1666-67, musical and theatrical culture reached a high level of development. In Bakhchisarai and Kef, he observed performances by artists who are skilled in imitating their manners and proficient in speech. Moreover, meddahs [i]– professional narrators of various stories. Evli Chelebi names the artist’s names: Ahmet Chelebi, Redjab Celebi, Jilwe Chaush, Chakman Celebi, Nuruzan Osman. Special delight of the Turkish traveller caused outfits of artists.

The Swiss traveler Dubois de Monpere, who saw the performance of actors in the Karasubazar “cafe” in the early 1830s, writes: “The actor starts Tale of a Thousand and One Nights, and, resting from time to time and pulling out a small plate, he assures his serious listeners, that the story would have become a hundred times more beautiful if it could be encouraged by the appearance of several piastres … The storyteller does not use gestures like Persians, but he knows well when to add a gesture to flowery speech. After the storyteller comes to the turn of singers, who sing accompanied by a violin and tambourine… “

The centuries-old relations of the Crimean yurt with European states left their mark on the development of theatrical culture.

From the available sources on this issue, we could note the notes of the Ambassador of Prussia Alexander von der Goltz, who served King Frederick the Great, as well as the book of memoirs of the French consul Baron de Tott, published in Amsterdam in 1784. Both ambassadors stayed at the court of Khan Giray, and Baron de Tott in 1769, on the side of the Crimean troops, even participated in the military campaign against New Serbia.

From the above sources, it becomes clear that not only large instrumental ensembles and chapels existed in the Bakhchisarai Palace, but also groups of professional artists who staged various comedies “based on ridiculous positions and intricate adventures.”

Interestingly, on the Bakhchisarai scene, the ambassadors “had to hear French artists as well.”

Crimea Giray was interested in the Moliere comedies, which were “known to him both by the plot and by the art of their processing.” He knew a lot about Tartuffe, in which he was engaged in a lot. Crimea Giray made remarks in the sense that each country has its own “startups” and, probably, there are it’s own in the Tatar countries, so it would be especially pleasant for him if Baron Tott had ordered for him a translation of this excellent comedy.

V. Osterman, who in 1855 made a translation of the monograph “Crimea Giray” by German scientist Theodor Mundt, observes that Baron Tott denounced the translation of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” to the Crimean Tatar language, and M. Ruffin, secretary, and translator of Louis XV, this work was entrusted.



Author: Редакция Avdet