Russia showed an interest to Hans Christian Andersen as early as the 1830-s. The priority among the Russian cities belongs to Saint Petersburg. One of the first works appreciated by Russian readers was the novel «The Improvisator» translated from German. Russian readers perceived «The Improvisator» as a romantic novel, which appeared «too late».
Later H. C. Andersen’s fairy tales attracted the greatest interest. Readers got acquainted with the fairy tales either in foreign languages or in Russian translations. And they became popular pretty soon. The first collection of fairy tales came out in St. Petersburg in 1869. It included 14 fairy tales translated from German.
But a real revolution which led to the crowning glory of him took place only at the time when two translators Peter Hansen (in Russia Pjotr Gotfridovic Ganzen, 1846-1930) and Anna Hansen (Anna Vasil’jevna Ganzen, 1869-1942) started translating directly from Danish and published separate fairy tales and a collection of works by H. C. Andersen. These translations are not only a part of foreign literature which a Russian reader can get acquainted with if he wants. It is a really existing element of the Russian language culture.
St. Petersburg was always the city of theatres. During the XX-th century one could see many performances based on H. C. Andersen’s fairy tales. The pique of theatrical interest to H. C. Andersen’s work falls on the middle of the 1990-s. At this time there were shown 32 performances in the city.