The home of St Petersburg’s prestigious ballet and opera companies, the Mariinsky Theatre is a vast neoclassical building complete with striking pale green facades.
The home of St Petersburg’s prestigious ballet and opera companies, the Mariinsky Theatre is a vast neoclassical building complete with striking pale green facades. The Imperial Ballet and Opera Theatre occupied this spot since 1783. In 1845, this area became famous for hosting the circus trick-rider Alessandro Guerra. For the first time, people in Russia witnessed the Haute Ecole dressage horse riding, which became really popular. Eventually, the original building was burnt down in 1859, and a stone replacement named after the Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna was built, which is the neoclassical building you see today. Inside, the plush decor of the Imperial Circus was recreated; look out for the opulent ceiling mural of a Clock with Cupids by Enrico Franciolli, and the lavish fringed chandelier. In the latter half of the 19th century, the theatre was a key performance space during Russia’s ‘golden age’ of opera, premiering Russian operas by the likes of Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky. In 1886, the Imperial Ballet Company moved here. Most famously, the classic choreography of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake was performed here for the first time under the direction of Marius Petipa. In 1914, the Mariinsky’s famous stage curtain was installed. In the Soviet era, it was renamed after Sergey Kirov, the local party leader who was assassinated in 1934. Book a ticket for a show to see the magnificent interiors. The dress code is chilled, so no need to stress - just relax and enjoy the performance!