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The State Academic Mariinsky (ex. Kirov) Ballet and Opera Theatre

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about theatre

The Mariinsky Theatre is famous all over the world as the main theatre of Saint Petersburg, “the cultural capital of  Russia”. A lot of theaters in the world are intended to be the world famous but the Mariinsky theatre has all rights to be called so. The value of every theatre consists of the artists’ names, performances and special events connected with it. The names of the most famous Russian and foreign opera singers, ballet dancers, talented directors, brilliant premieres go with the long history of the Mariinsky Theatre, that covers three main periods of the history of the country: the Russian Empire, soviet period and nowadays. In more than 100 year history the theatre gave us a lot of talented artists: famous bass singer Osip Petrov, who founded the Russian performing opera school; Feodor Chaliapin and Sofia Preobrazhenskaya also served here; masterful ballet dancers like Galina Ulanova, Anna Pavlova and the favorite ballerina of Nicolas II Matilda Kseshinskaya were shining on that famous stage. Certainly you’ve heard the name of an outstanding dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov who became one of the most famous ballet dancer combining the masterful technique and classic style with the incredible force of his movements. We can’t miss the name of the present conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre who is Valery Gergiev, outstanding artist, musician, main director of the London Symphonic orchestra.

See also: Mariinsky II New Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall

Mariinsky Theatre. Theatre Square, 1, St Petersburg, 190000


Mariinsky Theatre - one of Russia's best-known theatres ... home to the world-famous Kirov opera and ballet companies.


Mariinsky Theatre History

The history of the Theatre starts from the long ago in the 1783 when Catherine the Great ordered to build the Bolshoy Kameny Theatre in the center of the capital of the Russian Empire,  that was Saint Petersburg that time. The theatre, built by a magnificent Italian master Antonio Rinaldi, became the precursor of the present Mariinsky Theatre, which in its turn later was constructed in front of the Bolshoy Kameny Theatre only in 1859 and was named in honor of Empress Maria Aleksandrovna, Alexander’s II wife.  Gorgeous and majestic building of the Theatre was made including all technical features of that time and the most prominent premieres were shown there, like “Il mondo della luna” by Giovanni Paisiello, then “Life for the Czar” and “Ruslan And Ludmila” by wonderful Russian compositor Glinka, “Knyaz Igor” by Borodin, “ The Snow Maiden” by Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1869 Marius Petipa leaded the troupe of the Mariinsky Theatre, it was the time of such world famous works of Chaikovsky as “Sleeping beauty” and “Boris Godunov” by Musorgsky.  After the revolution of 1917 the Theater became state and then it was named the Kirov State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. A lot of new ballets were shown that time, including wonderful works by Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Dzerzhinsky and more. The Theatre started its new life when a marvelous director Valery Gergiev leaded the troupe, the historical name was given to the Theatre. In May 2013 the New Stage of the Theatre was built and opened. That construction was as modern and expensive as double La Scala.

Inside Mariinsky

The beautiful building of a present Mariinsky Theatre was created by Alberto Kavos in classical style, it’s marvelous green facade perfectly completes the assembly of the city.  Inside the Theatre you’ll be amazed with the expansive spacious hall which is decorated with blue velvet, a lot of gilding and a wonderful bronze ceiling lamp of more than 200 lights. Under the orchestra pit constructers put a heavy ply of broken crystal that provides a special so-called “silver sound”. Talking about acoustics the best place to listen the opera will be the seats in the 3rd circle, but to see the ballet better choose dress circle.

Being the cradle of Russian classical ballet and world famous opera The Mariinsky Theatre has a very wide repertoire. Among the most popular operas there are: Aida, Boris Godunov, Eugenie Onegin, Carmen, La traviata, Life for the Tsar, Iolanta, Tosca, War and Peace, The Snow Maiden, Ruslan and Lyudmila, Sadko, and more. And ballets: Swan Lake, Cinderella, Anna Karenina, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, The jewel, Nutcracker, Sylvia, Raymonda, Spartacus, and more including modern ballet. 

Mariinsky Dresscode

In the Mariinsky Theatre you need to follow the dress code: formal suite and the black tie for men and the evening dress for women are the must. Visiting the theatre in the cold season (autumn, winter, early spring) remember about a possible snow and rain outside, that’s why don’t forget to take shoes to change and to leave your coat and hat in the cloakroom.

How to get and when to visit

Constructed right in the city center at Teatralnaya square The Mariinsky Theatre is quiet easy to reach from every point of the city, using underground(stations Admiralteyskaya, Sadovaya, Sennaya, Spasskaya), taxi o simply walking along the beautiful streets and canals of Saint Petersburg.  Beside we’ll gladly organize a transfer for you from the hotel or your cruise ship.

The Theatre is worth visiting every time of the year, but the June is considered the most romantic and nice time because apart from the precious performance you can enjoy wonderful White Nights of Saint Petersburg!

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2024: July August

We recommend: RusTrains.com - Trains in Russia