Theaters and Concert Halls, Saint Petersburg
One of my "must-do's" for a future visit to St Petersburg is to catch a performance at the Mariinsky Theatre, ideally a Russian opera in the main building.
This time round though all I had time for was a brief daytime visit. I had hoped that I would have been able to at least have a wander round inside if there was a publicly-visitable cafe/bar (with the emphasis on the bar bit!). It seems not. There's a small foyer just inside the main entrance, along with the box office, but otherwise it looked as if you needed to be attending a production or have some sort of business there in order to access the theatre proper.
There are public spaces in the new annexe, the Mariinsky II, across the canal which looked a bit too modern and trendy for my tastes and so I gave that a miss. Instead I made do with a few external pics and a visit to the website which has virtual tours of both the classical theatre and the new one.
Searching for an absolutely different matter, I ran by chance into the site of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky theatre and look – they have their own Internet channel, the next live webcast already this week!
If you click the link now, you will see (and hear) the interview of the of the renown violinist Vadim Repin. What caught my eye is that our media have very little idea of how to conduct an interview – the poor chap stands there fumbling his wedding ring while the press attaché talks, and talks, and talks!
We had the choice of 2 theatre performances, The Cossack Dancers or the Russian Ballet. I chose the Cossack Dancers to my wife's disappointment, but after seeing this wonderful performance she was extremely happy.
Well worth the money!
Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre (Russian: Большой Драматический Театр имени Г. А. Товстоногова) from 1992 after his director from 1965 till 1989. Formerly known as Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theater (Russian: Большой Драматический Театр имени Горького) (1931–1992), often referred to as the Bolshoi Drama Theater and by the acronym BDT (Russian: БДТ). The building was constructed between 1876-1878 and completely restore 1999.
The Theater was founded in 1918 as the Special Drama Company. Maria Andreeva, Maxim Gorky and Alexander Blok took direct part in its creation. The Theatre was opened on 15 February 1919 in the Conservatory Opera Studio with a stage play Don Karlos by Friedrich Schiller.
In September of 1920, the Theatre moved to current location, a house of the former Suvorin Theatre (The Small Theatre.
Tovstonogov gathered an ensemble of unique actors who were the best drama company and the best drama theater more then three decades. Today DBT repertoire includes works of Russian and world classic literature, a comedy by a contemporary Russian author, and a contemporary foreign play.
Main entrance of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre is near Leshtukov bridge on Fontanka river.
Tickets offers: every day from 11:00 - 19:00 (on Monday 11:00-18:00) with break from 15:00 till 16:00.
The next important building we see on the Cruise, is the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre, situated in a beautiful building near the Fontanka River. The building was constructed between 1876-1878.
Inside it is said to a have a marble staircase lit by ancient lanterns leading to the foyer of the Greek Hall, the ceilings are decorated and gilded.
We pass under the Leshtukov Bridge which leads directly across the Fontanka River to the main entrance of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre. When the theater was opened in 1878, a ferry crossing was established, then in 1907, a temporary wooden bridge was constructed here, and remained until 1952, when it was replaced by a metal single-span bridge.
I noticed the Theatre was painted in the same colour green as another one we had previously seen!
The Theatre is home to the Mariinsky Ballet, Mariinsky Opera and Mariinsky Orchestra.
This beautifully painted green & white Theatre, was opened to the public in 1860. Royalty came here during pre-revolutionary times, and also some of Russia’s most celebrated classical performers.
The original Tsar's Box of the Mariinsky Theatre is still there!
The Theatre is known for its classical ballet performances and has held many World premieres.
Some notable ones are....Mussorgsky's opera Boris Godunov in 1874, Tchaikovsky's operas The Queen of Spades in 1890 and Iolanta in 1892, the revised version of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet in 1940, and Khachaturian's ballet Spartacus in 1956.
The Mariinsky theatre is the home of the world famous Kirov Ballet and Opera company, and the theatre is just as most worth a trip as the ballet. For visitors in summer you will have to be disappointed, as we were - the Kirov goes on tour and the season only starts again in September. Kirov shows are usually always sold out, but there are plenty of visiting companies worth seeing too - ticket sales usually begin three weeks before performances.
The first night we went to the ballet. It was Swan Lake with the "ballet stars of St. Petersburg".
When I asked my granddaughter if she had seen a ballet, her answer was that she hadn't, meaning that she hadn't seen Russian ballet, but she had seen Swan Lake and Nutcracker at home. She wasn't impressed with this production and neither was I. We both felt that the guy playing the prince was bored with it, and she said the chorus was missing the downbeat. I though the white swan although quite old looking had wonderful swan wing arms, the orchestra was good, and the scenery was OK. We liked the jester, and the dance called Les Cygnettes that four ballerinas did with the crossed arms, and also the Spanish dance.
Apparently the Soyuz Sport Theatre has two shows running and I suspect they are mostly for tourists. One show is at the Hermitage and the other one was the one we went to at the Palace. The Palace is called the Theatre of Musical Comedy and was originally constructed in 1799 – 1801. Soon after 1910 it was bought by a private entrepreneur to be fitted out as a theatre. The theatre had a hard life through the wars, and has recently been refurbished.
The theatre website description of the building is as follows:
Architecture is retained in primordial appearance, except just one lobby that was specially rebuilt as a grotto, which was stylish tendency in the beginning of XX century. Walls of this hall were faced with raw masonry, in which cracks were hidden electric light bulbs; and in small ponds placed in the corners of grotto water flowed. Sometimes in theatre came people who were not interested in theatre at all, they were just curious – they wanted to see the luxurious stairs and to visit grotto.
home of an opera company, an orchestra, and of course, a very famous ballet company. Also once known as the Kirov during the Soviet era, for anyone who has studied or loves ballet, this building might be likened to a shrine!! The Mariinsky has played a significant role in the history of Russian ballet. Upon its stage, ballet "supernovas" such as Anna Pavlova, Nijinsky, Rudolph Nureyev, Galina Ulanova, and Michail Baryshnikov have danced!! It has also featured the works of Jerome Robbins and Balanchine. The great Marius Petipa was the Ballet Master at the Mariinsky in 1869. These names may be meaningless to some unfamiliar with the history of ballet, but I absolutely love ballet and studied it myself for quite a few years so the names are quite familiar!
But as the Mariinsky is the home of the opera company as well, a fortunate few will be able to see & hear the opera, "Queen of Spades" a work by Alexander Galibin, this coming September, 2005. Check the website for the current performance schedule of this opera and other performances. The "Backstage Restaurant" is just steps from the Opera House.
A Brief History The Mariisnky Theatre today is an architecturally ornate and imposing building, but its origins were much more humble. Now situated on what is known as Theatre Square, carnivals and amateur performances took place in a wooden building on the site in 1765. Later a stone building was erected known as the Bolshoi, but it was subject to repeated fires. The current building was completed in 1859 by architect, Albert Calvos, and it was named the Mariinsky Theatre in honor of Empress Maria Fiodorovna, wife of Tzar Alexander II. The theatre was heavily damaged during the 900 days Seige of Leningrad, but restored in 1944.
Seeing a ballet performance at Mariinsky was one of our 'must do' on our itinerary. The ticket was quite expensive as the cheaper seats were all sold out by the time I got around to buying the tickets, but they were good seats, affording us good view of the stage. The performance: Swan Lake -- it was beautiful, well worth the money.
The hip place to see a variety of films and the main location for film festivals is the Dom Kino.
New foreign Russian films are shown there as well as many films not to be seen anywhere else.
It has been under renovation winter 2007 and should be only better. It has a large coffeehosue upstairs to sit while you wait for your movie and it is a palce to see and be seen. If you want to see the art film scene in St. Petersburg, attend the festivals there :)
A beautiful drama theater in classic Russian style crowned by a stature of Apollo's carriage.
Tickets start at 150 rubles and it can be a good value
It went under renovations and is open in 2007 with a fresh look.
It was designed by famous St. Petersburg architect K. Rossi and completed in 1832.
It is named for Alexandra Fiodorovna, wife of Tsar Nicholas I .
Superb music and ballet venue built in 1783 by order of Catherine the Great.
A must place to see a ballet or opera. You can sit on the floor for big bucks, or get a local ticket and sit in the 3rd balcony.
The tickets are often over $100, if that is a problem you can buy russian tickets and pay a fee to convert them to foreign tickets at the theater, probably about $15.
During intermission walk around and go into the Tsar's box and see where the royal family sat!
Old theater located on the Neva River Eat of the main Hermitage museum.
Many special concerts and events are held here.
Ekaterina II the Great held ballets and theater performances here. You can see a re-enactment in the art film "Russian Ark."
SOMETIMES, a patron of classical music can walk directly from the theater to the museum without a separate ticket. It is one of those don't ask, don't tell situations :)
A second venue behind the Mariinsky Theater resumes construction in July 2007 after some delays.
The design by architect Dominique Perrault was reworked by the Russian firm Georekonstruktsya-Fundamentproekt after cost projections soared and now is expected to cost 9.535 billion rubles ($369.4 million)