(1841–1918) Russian industrialist and patron of the arts. After some years in Italy studying singing and the history of the visual and expressive arts, in 1870 Mamontov bought the estate of Abramtsevo near Moscow, where he formed an artistic colony whose members included the painters Vrubel, Serov, Simov, Levitan, and the brothers Vasnetsov and Korovin. He also gave private operatic performances at his Moscow house in which Stanislavsky took part and where the scenery was designed by members of the colony. In 1885 Mamontov opened a private opera theatre in Moscow and managed to attract Fyodor Chaliapin from the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre. Productions were marked by a new approach to operatic acting and staging and the importance of scenography was evident in the contribution of artists mentioned above. Productions included work by Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, and Anton Rubinstein. Apart from Chaliapin, singers during the Lent seasons of 1889–92 included such masters of bel canto as Mazzini, Tamagno, Marie von Zandt, and Silva. The theatre was forced to close in 1904 because of financial difficulties, Mamontov, whose money was in railways, having been bankrupted in 1899.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance in Oxford Reference.