1, Theatralnaya sq.
The history of the Mariinsky theatre started in 1783 when the Bolshoi (Stone) Theatre was open in Petersburg, where dramatic opera and ballet performances were staged. Now there is the Saint-Petersburg Conservatoire.
By the declare of Ekaterina II the Bolshoi (Stone) theatre was built on the site of that building, surpassed the great European theatres by its brilliance and luxury. In 1849 in the building, constructed on the project of the architect Alberto Kavos, opposite the Bolshoy theatre, the circus was opened by a horse festive performance. It was designed so that it could be used as a theatrical placing.
In the night on 26 January 1859 the circus burnt. On its site by the project of the same architect a new theatre was built, designed for music and drama performances. The width of a stage and a proscenium were increased; for improvement of acoustics the ceiling was filed by boards. The architect has created all convenience to eminent visitors: Imperial box and minister box of an imperial court yard the foyer and have received independent smart lobbies, ladders. It was called the Mariinsky theatre in honour of the Emperor Alexander's II wife Maria Alexandrovna. Here came Russian opera and then ballet troupes of the Bolshoi Theatre. The theatre was opened on 2 October 1860 by Michail Glinka's opera "A Life for the Tsar".
Blue and gold colour is the symbol of the Mariinsky theatre. Five-circled hall of the theatre stayed almost unchanged after the rebuilding by Alberto Kavos in 1859. The hall is defined by emphasized festivity; it was designed as a hall of the leading theatre of Russian Empire.
In 1935-1992 it had the name of S. Kirov. The World premieres of many masterpieces of Russian opera classics were staged there. Including Glinka's " A Life for the Tsar ", "Ruslan and Lyudmila", Mussorgsky's "Khovanshchina" and "Boris Godunov", Borodin's "Prince Igor", Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya ", P. Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades".
The original national vocal school was formed in the Mariinsky theatre. The fortunes of many world opera art stars great Fyodor Shalyapin, Ivan Yershov, Nikolay Figner, Leonid Sobinov, Felija Litvin, later Nikolay Peskovsky, Sophia Preobrazhenskaya, Mark Reisen, Georgy Nelepp sang on the stage. The Mariinsky theatre has always had piety to classic traditions. Beside that there were performances in XX century, which became epoch-making, turning point for the development of new aesthetics for opera theatre. Alexander Benua, Konstantin Korovin, Alexander Golovin and Valentin Serov opened here the new possibilities of theatrical drawing to the world. Here Vsevolod Meyerhold staged his genius performances, each of which became an interesting for the world art event.
The theatre repertoire includes the "golden fund" works of opera classics. For the last years the theatre staged performances jointly with the greatest world opera stages: the Covent Garden, Opera de Bastil, La Scala, La Fenice, the Israel New Opera (Tel Aviv) and the San-Francisco Opera.
Panorama of the Theatre Square
Virtual Tour of the Main Hall
Full list of performances