Empress Catherine II issued an imperial edict that "Russian Theatre should be not merely for comedies and tragedies, but also for operas". This decree of 12th June 1783 to the Russian company performing in the specially built Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre envisaged the "production of one or two serious operas and two new comic operas per year". This date is considered the starting point in the history of the Mariinsky Opera Company.
Italian opera held sway over St Petersburg´s Bolshoi Theatre, which opened on 24th September 1783 with Paisiello´s opera Il mondo della luna. Alongside those by foreign composers, Russian works gradually began to appear on the Petersburg stage, including Orpheus and The Coachmen at the Travellers´ Inn by Yevstigney Fomin, The Miller, the Wizard, the Liar and the Matchmaker by Mikhail Sokolovsky and The Carriage Accident by Vasily Pashkevich.