Theaters and Concert Halls, Saint Petersburg
We crossed over to the theatre with lots of time, luckily, because everyone pointed us in the direction of our seats but no one could tell or show us where they were because we did not understand Russian. To make matters worse, they did not speak English, and furthermore, they thought we were German. What a Shmazol!! Finally this young girl came by who saw our dilemma and explained the process and where we had to go. What a help. We thanked her and waited for our section to open so we could be seated in chairs that were unnumbered.
All in all, the show was great. It was in Russian but it had captions above the stage in English. We knew the show and the music which helped a lot. MY Fair Lady. The building itself was almost Shakespearian inside with floor seating, then raised balconies surrounding the floor to ceiling space in front of the stage. It was very warm with poor ventilation. We both agreed it could be stifling in summer. We enjoyed the experience. Intermission came two hours later and we decided to head back to the hotel. we did not want to be trapped in that area after 11:30 pm looking for a taxi .
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Aurora theater on Nevsky Prospect.
It is remodeled in a partial ancient Greek theme with gold mosaics and plaster casts in the lobby.
The VIP Hall is a good place to see movies. It features padded swivel and reclining chairs witha side table. Also a full bar and snack bar in the back, so you can get up and get snacks as you wish.
Statues lin ethe upper walls and it is a unique venue for movies.
Dress Code: casual
This is a small venue of intimate classical concerts held along the Moika River in the exhibition hall of the St. Petersburg Artist Museum Exhibition Center.
Traditional oil paintigns grace the wall and it really makes for a special feeling, like the days of Rimsky-Korsakov when musicians would gather to share their music each week.
Concertts usually on Fridays, but can be anytime. Tickets can be purchased at the museum or by phone. http://www.piter-art.com/muzyka/
Dress Code: Dress nice. The floor is carpeted, clean shoes nice.
There are two Jan Hall movie theaters in St. Petersburg.
They have sofas for seating 2 or 3 people and serve pizza and cocktails while you enjoy the show. You turn on a little red light on the small table in front of your sofa for service.
The service is slow. For the midnight shows there is no food service and the waitresses leave in 15 minutes.
Things from the bar are generally good and pizza not bad. Ice cream may taste old and soda may be served warm. But if the movie is good and the company good, it is a nice place!
Large concert hall in a more modern Soviet style architecture.
five minutes walk from
It has 3738 seats and many tourist groups attend events here.
The balcony has good views and cheaper tickets.
Tchaikovsky's most famous and popular ballet is Swan Lake. Swan Lake begins at a royal court. Prince Siegfried, heir to the kingdom, must declare a wife at his birthday ball. Upset that he cannot marry for love, Siegfried escapes into the forest at night. As he sees a flock of swans flying overhead, he aims his crossbow and readies himself for their landing by the lakeside. When one comes into view, however, he stops; before him is a beautiful creature dressed in white feathers, more woman than swan. Enamoured, the two dance and Siegfried learns that the swan maiden is the princess Odette. An evil sorcerer, Von Rothbart, captured her and used his magic to turn Odette into a swan by day and woman by night.
A retinue of other captured swan-maidens attend to Odette in the environs of Swan Lake. Once Siegfried knows her story, he takes great pity on her and falls in love. As he begins to swear his love to her - an act that will render the sorcerer's spell powerless - Von Rothbart appears. Siegfried threatens to kill him but Odette intercedes; if Von Rothbart dies before the spell is broken, it can never be undone.
The Prince returns to the castle to attend the ball. Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his own daughter Odile, making her seem identical to Odette in all respects except that she wears black while Odette wears white. The prince mistakes her for Odette, dances with her, and proclaims to the court that he intends to make her his wife. Only a moment too late, Siegfried sees the real Odette and realizes his mistake. Prince's declaration that he wishes to marry Odile constitutes a betrayal that condemns Odette to remain a swan forever. Odette is called away into swan form, and Siegfried is left alone in grief as the curtain falls.
Dress Code: Smart casual although jacket and tie would be nice.
The tourist info kiosk in front of the Hermitage has well-informed people with maps and info about performances. The pre-arranged tickets are quite pricy--Russian versus American prices. However, if you are willing to take a chance, you can get what the info person called "entrance tickets". At 40 minutes or so before the show (ask at the kiosk), go to the theatre's "Will Call" window. They will indicate which classes of seats are available at what prices. We did the cheap (and not comfortable, but good visibility and acoustics) seats for Mariinsky for $10 each: the choices were $10 and $100 on a weeknight at the tail end of June, 5 minutes before entry. The Mussorgsky, we splurged for $24 for good seats--and actually moved to better ones at the intermission, on the instructions of a Russian we chatted with. They had, weeknight in early July, a variety of different seats available, at 40 minutes before entry.
Would you like to find youself in the very centre of the original Russian folk festivities? To get carried away by the colourful footstamping performance? To feel Russian at least for a while? If no hesitation appears in your mind, then accept a warm welcome of the Nikolayevsky Art-Centre to see the enchanting festival of Russian spirit "Feel yourself Russian"! The show is performed by the professional folk companies.
There are two shows every night at 18:30 and 21:00 and lasts 2 hours.
Dress Code: Smart casual.
The Opera and Ballet Theater of the St Petersburg Conservatory, named after Rimsky-Korsakov, is one of the leading musical companies of the city. The building, located just opposite the Mariinsky Theater, was built in the 18th century. Destroyed by a fire on New Year's night of 1811, it was reconstructed and re-opened in 1818. In 1836, the premiere of Glinka's opera, Life for the Tsar was performed in the building. The concert hall is now the performing home of the State Opera and Ballet Company of St Petersburg Conservatory. I attended a performance of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake in the concert hall on 20 June 2006.
Dress Code: Smart casual attire for ballet performances.
We had booked tickets to the Folklore Show at the Nikolaevsky Palace and took a tour bus there. We would never had found our way to the Nikolaevsky Palace, so it was good that we were taken there. We had to take Riitta up to the stairs (two stores) only to be told afterwards that there was a lift! Again the hall was worth the ticket and the whole building. Three men started the show by singing some Russian songs and their voices were really good and I enjoyed listening to them a lot.
The Mariinsky Theatre is where the Kirov Opera performs and where you can see the Great Russian Ballet.
Nearby this is the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. There are some statutes of the great conductors of Russia including the Father of Russian Classical music: Glinka
Dress Code: You can get by with Jeans and a nice shirt like a turtle neck. But you would feel more comfortable in terms of blending with the crowd if you wore a suit and tie or at least slacks.
I attended a show of traditional folk dance and song at the Nikolayevsky Palace, which is aimed at foreigners but is not at all touristy. It's a high-quality performance that will have you clapping with delight. The palace itself is beautiful and the singing and dancing is first-rate, as are the folk costumes the performers wear. As an added bonus, we had champagne and caviar at intermission.
Men, beware: the ladies pick unwitting victims from the audience to come up on stage and dance with them.
This conservatory, Russia's oldest music school, stages opera and ballet performances on a regular basis. Tickets are cheaper than the Mariinsky and are apparently easier to purchase, as the "star" quality is lower.
We happened to be exploring the area around the conservatory before our Mariinsky show, when a vocal recital was being performed on the second floor of the building. The windows were open and the sound carried very clearly, so taking a seat on a bench in the neighbouring park, we were able to sit and enjoy part of a "free" performance.
Dress Code: None, if you are lucky enough to follow our example. . .
I booked tickets to a performance of Swan Lake ~ the quintessential Russian ballet. The performance itself was very good (classical ballet is not entirely my cup of tea), but much of the evening's success came from the rest of the experience.
The interior of the theatre is gorgeous ~ decorated in blue and gold, with a fantastic painted ceiling. If you leave your seat during intermission (highly recommended as you'll need to stretch your cramped legs), there's a reception room that's worth a peek as well. There are also drinks and snacks for sale, to tide you over through the rest of the show.
Interestingly, we heard more English spoken during the three hours in the Mariinsky than we did during the rest of our time (8 days) in the city.
Seeing a performance at the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Theatre in St. Petersburg is easier than ever before. . .you can now purchase tickets over the internet and pick them up just before your show.
The process is easy (I love the website display of the audience, where you actually point and click on the seats you want) and seems secure. We went to the theatre early (45 minutes) to ensure that there weren't any snags picking up our tickets ~ it took five minutes maximum.
Our seats were fairly central and in a section on the first level; the cost approximately 80 USD for each one.
Dress Code: I usually look at theatre as a chance to dress up ~ but how much you do that will depend on the size of your suitcase/backpack. If you can squeeze in a slightly dressier outfit, do so, as many attending the theatre will be dressed up. If you can't find the space, don't worry yourself about it. . .you will not be the only person there in jeans (there were a few) or t-shirts (no logos, but t-shirts just the same). :-) As is typically the case, people are usually too concerned with their own appearance to give much thought to anyone else's.