Moscow's State Contemporary History Museum will open tomorrow the exhibition on "Eleonora Duse and Vera Komissarzhevskaja. Two Divas in the Mirror". The exhibition is organised by major Russian and Italian institutions and museums, and by the Italian Cultural Institute in Moscow. The exhibition narrates the life and artistic career of the two great stars of the past century's theatre. They were both passionate in their search for new forms of expression and acting registers, experimenting the method of psychological realism. The two actresses met in St. Petersburg in 1896 and developed a strong feeling of mutual appreciation and esteem.
The exhibition is divided into several sections., one of which is entirely dedicated to Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) and is curated by Maria Ida Biggi, director of the Centro Studi per la Ricerca Documentale sul Teatro e Melodramma Europeo (Study Centre for Documentary Research into European Theatre and Opera), and by Marianna Zannoni, researcher at the above centre, who reconstructed Duse's numerous international tours. The Italian artist's most remarkable and famous tours took place in Russia in 1891, 1896 and 1908, and clearly outline the evolution of Duse's career and art and the parabola of her success. In a letter to his sister in 1891, Anton Chekhov wrote of her: "I have just now seen the Italian actress Duse perform in Shakespeare's Cleopatra. I don't know Italian, but her acting was so superb that I thought I understood every word she said. What a marvellous actress!"
Olga Strada, director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Moscow said: "This exhibition gives further insight into the wealth of ideas and creative stimuli which contributed to shaping a common cultural geography in Europe between the 19th and 20th centuries. Italy and Russia shared common views and a creative dialogue not only in art, architecture, literature, and music, but also in drama, where there was a sort of communion of inspiration symbolized by Eleonora Duse and Vera Komissarzhevskaja."