Many well-known musicians, singers, performers, composers lived and died in Saint Petersburg for three hundred years of city’s history. Their constant or temporary dwellings (usually apartments) often served as the real mini-concert halls (they were called as music saloons earlier). Many "music" addresses have already been forgotten, they can be found only in narrowly specialized editions. But some of them are live till now, this is the memorial museums-apartments which count at least ten in Saint Petersburg now.
Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Museum Apartment
Museum-apartment of the well-known Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov is located on 28, Zagorodny prospekt. Rimsky-Korsakov lived here for the last 15 years of his life. To some extent this apartment has been into big luck - in spite of the fact that after revolution it has been transformed into "communal apartment", children and grandsons of the composer continued to live in one of rooms having managed to keep the most part of his personal things which have formed the museum exposition after half a century.
The composer liked to organize at home the musicales with songs, dances and play on ancient Becker's grand piano. Almost all known composers and musicians of the end of 19-th – beginning of 20th century visited him: S. V. Rakhmaninov, A.N. Skryabin, A.K. Glazunov, I.F. Stravinsky and also artists V.A.Serov and I.E.Repin, singer F.I. Shalyapin and other people of art.
Usually such «music parties» were once a week, on Wednesdays and eventually they were named as "Korsakov’s Wednesdays". By the way in reminiscences of contemporaries, the neighbours of Rimsky-Korsakov were not glad to entertainments of the well-known neighbour – usually the loud grand piano’s performance and execution of songs in his apartment came to an end late night and after that Nikolay Andreevich and his visitors, as a rule, seated to drink tea and broke up only by morning. But the neighbour's children living in apartment overhead liked his "home concerts" very much: those evenings when Shalyapin performed at Rimsky-Korsakov’s apartment, they specially laid down on floor and pressed their ears to parquet to catch voice of the well-known singer better.
And though he moved to apartment on Zagorodny prospekt, being already well-known composer and conductor, however his the best creations have been written here - in particular, it is 11 of 15 operas - "Sadko", "The Tsar's Bride ", "The Tale of Tsar Saltan", "The Golden Cockerel", "Kashchey the Immortal" and others.
After museum’s opening in 1956, the saved furniture of the composer and well-known grand piano was arranged in four rooms of his former apartment - in lobby, drawing room, dining room and in study of Rimsky-Korsakov, having recreated the conditions in which the composer lived there. Except furniture his descendants gave to museum a lot of memorable things connected with name of Rimsky-Korsakov, including the nominal dinner service and some portraits of his ancestors of noble birth.
And the rest of this big apartment till now occupies the concert hall where again as well as hundred years ago, "Korsakov’s Wednesdays" take place with performance of modern musicians, opera and pop singers. By the way Feodor Shalyapin, the active habitue of the Rimsky-Korsakov’s chats-in has a memorial dwelling in our city also. It is a question of apartment in 2b, Graftio Street, transformed in one more memorial-music museum-apartment.
Shalyapin Memorial Museum Apartment
Shalyapin occupied the apartment in 2B Graftio street on Petrogradskaya Storona within last eight years of his life in Russia. By then "the Great basso" was already well-known over all Russia and Europe. He continued to perform on stage of the the Bolshoi Theatre and Mariinsky Theatre, he performed the main bass parts in operas, Russian national songs and romances also. As well as at Rimsky-Korsakov, in Shalyapin’s house other known singers and musicians gathered often too. But the singer was on friendly terms not only with musicians – his social circle consisted of well-known artists, many of whom, for example, A.Y.Golovin, K.A.Korovin, A.E.Yakovlev, G.S.Vereisky were his close friends.
And now in museum it is possible to see traces of this friendship - walls of the big and small drawing rooms are filled with pictures from the singer’s collection: except Shalyapin's portraits created by Yakovlev, Golovin, Korovin and other artists, his collection included one of I.I.Brodsky's landscapes and an etude "The Head of the monk" by M.V. Nesterov.
The apartment on Petrogradskaya Storona was a place of creative activity of Shalyapin: here he prepared for performances, studied new musical parts and rehearsed scenes from opera performances together with other singers and actors. Now the history is silent on reaction of neighbours... In many respects, the present layout of museum is obliged to secretary of Shalyapin – I.G. Dvorishchin. Leaving Russia Shalyapin took only a portrait of Kustodiev’s work and he left all other things together with apartment in storage to his secretary.
It is commonly known Shalyapin lived his last 16 years in France and did not come to Russia anymore. However Dvorishchin who lived in apartment carried out his commission, having kept all personal things, documents and collections of the singer. Thanks to it after death of Dvorishchin the apartment of the singer passed to department of the Museum of Theatrical and Musical Art which took care of opening of apartment-museum in this building.
Except the things, kept by Shalyapin’s secretary, the museum exposition gradually replenished with theatrical suits of the well-known bass and scenery models to performances in which he acted. In second half of 20-th century the daughters of Shalyapin - Marfa and Marina donated to museum the picture of Kustodiev which was taken away by their father in emigration. Besides the employees of the Museum of Theatrical and Musical Art opened an exposition of his papers in Shalyapin's museum-apartment, in which the correspondence with M. Gorkiy is an integral part.
In a museum it is possible to see weapon collection and the most part of furniture of Shalyapin, for example, grand piano which he engaged in singing and an english gramophone (victrola) on which the singer liked to listen to plates. Recently, in November of last year Museum of the composer opened in former apartment of Dmitry Shostakovich in our city. It was opened thanks to great Mstislav Rostropovich, cherished memory of him.
Shostakovich Memorial Museum-Apartment
Dmitry Dmitrievich Shostakovich lived in the house on 9, Marata Street from 1914 till 1933 - within 19 years. Here when he was 9 years old, under the guidance of mother he started to be play piano and then he enrolled in Glyasser’s musical school which was nearby, on Vladimirskiy prospekt. And when parents led the young composer to Alexander Glazunov, the rector of the Saint Petersburg conservatory, he predicted the successful creative destiny to the young man.
Shostakovich Memorial Museum-Apartment is three small rooms which are papered with variegated wall-papers. However in the first years Shostakovich's family settled down in the spacious seven-room apartment. In time of ascension of Bolsheviks the family "was packed" – four rooms were cut off from seven with partition. Now the door from hall leads to that part of apartment, but its function is just decorative.
In this house he composed the First symphony, "Lady Makbet" and many well-known ballets. By the way after performance of "Lady Makbet" in Moscow young Mitya Shostakovich separated, having bought own apartment on his fee from an opera in cooperative apartment house on Petrogradskaya storona. In 2002 the apartment on Marata Street was redeemed by close friends of the composer - Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich. They paid full the restoration of apartment and donated the turned out museum to city. Except Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya, the son of composer - Maxim Shostakovich, employees of the Saint Petersburg museum of Theatrical and Musical Art participated in creation of Museum also. The interiors were partially recreated in apartment, among exhibits is the furniture belonging to Shostakovich, his table donated to museum by the son of the composer.
Now so far limited exposition of museum includes the personal things belonging to the composer, photos, playbills, aaplets from Shostakovich's concerts. And apartment walls are densely covered by photos and cartoons, posters and scraps from newspapers. The turned yellow page from copy of "Pravda" newspaper is to the fore which the notorious article «Confusion instead of music» (1936) was published in. In other room you can see the party decision of 1948 «About Muradeli’s opera «The Great Friendship», definitively pressed down formerly cheerful, fervent and rollicking Mitya Shostakovich with heavy oppression of ideological charges.
In the first room there is stained desk covered with green cloth and the heavy writing desk filled with family photos. The second room is decorated by the big crystal chandelier with dark blue glass inside - such chandeliers hung practically in each apartment of intelligent Petersburgers in the 20-30s of the last century. In corner there is assembled group of mahogany with "flower" upholstery: according to memoirs of relatives, it stood in drawing room exactly here. By the way, one of rooms is equipped as chamber concert hall. There is room "Bluthner", not that grand piano, but very similar one, with numbers on deck, similiar to ones standing on the original instrument.
By the way one of recent city scandals was connected with opening of this museum - tenants of this house actively protested against its opening. Basically they can be understood - it is known how many troubles and inconveniences the memorial apartments of great people located in usual apartment houses give to usual tenants. A flood of callers or, as they speak now, fans, noise, fuss are inevitable costs for the sake of preservation of historical memory for descendants. The question at issue is whether descendants are ready to such costs...