Bolshoi Theater Troupe
The Bolshoi Theater includes four troupes (groups) of performers: the ballet troupe, the opera troupe, the orchestra troupe, and the band troupe. At the beginning of its history, the Bolshoi Theater only had 30 musicians and 30 artists, and at that time most of the performers didn't have a specialization. Drama actors and actresses would take part in operas, and opera singers would take part in drama plays. Mikhail Shchepkin, one of the most famous actors of the Russian Empire, would also take part in operas composed by Luigi Cherubini and Alexei Verstovsky. Pavel Mochalov was another famous tragedian who would take parts in plays and operas that were not according to his specialization.
Towards 1785, Bolshoi's troupe grew to 80 performers, and continued to grow. By the early 20th century the troupe grew to 500, and in 1990 that number reached over 900 artists.
The Bolshoi Theatre always attracted great talent. And these talented people, including dancers, choreographers, composers, and designers, received many awards from both government and private entities. During the Soviet era, over 80 artists received the highest possible title - "People's Artist of the USSR." Over 60 artists received different awards from Stalin, and 47 received awards from Lenin. The highest grade of distinction "Hero of Socialist Labour" was given to: Irina Arkhipova (Opera singer), Yury Grigorovich (Choreographer), Elena Obraztsova (Opera singer), Ivan Kozlovsky (Opera singer), Evgenii Nesterenko (Opera singer), Maya Plisetskaya (Ballet dancer), Yevgeniy Svetlanov (Conductor), Marina Semyonova (Ballet dancer), and Galina Ulanova (ballet dancer). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many artists have received the "People's Artist of the Russian Federation" medal.