THEATERS AND CONCERT HALLS
Russia is one of the great musical nations of the world, and Russians are justifiably proud of their classical music traditions. Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Mikhail Glinka, Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin, Sergey Rachmaninov, Sergey Prokofiev and Dmitriy Shostakovich are just some of the more famous figures closely associated with St. Petersburg, and their music can be heard regularly in theaters and concert halls across the city.
Mariinsky Theater is one of the largest and oldest music theaters in Russia that is famous all over the world. The construction of the theater building was completed in 1859 by architect Albert Kavos. In October, 1860 the performance of Mikhail Glinka’s opera Life for the Tsar marked its inauguration. The theater was named after Maria Aleksandrovna, the wife of Alexander II. Operas and ballets written by the great Russian composers were put on the theater stage. The theater has played host to many of Russia’s most celebrated classical performers: Fyodor Shalyapin sang there, and the dancers Vatslav Nizhinsky, Matilda Kshesinskaya, Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov also graced its stage.
Since 1988 Maestro Valeriy Gergiev has been Artistic Director of the Mariinskiy Theater, and he has been responsible for reclaiming and reviving the heritage of the Russian masterworks that have been performed here. He has also premiered here in recent years many operatic masterpieces of the western repertory.
Mikhaylovskiy Theater was built in 1831-1833 to the design of architect Alexander Bryullov, and inaugurated in November, 1833. The theater is called Mikhailovskiy to honor Mikhail Pavlovich, the brother of Emperor Nicholas I. The premieres of works by Russia’s best 20th century composers, including Sergey Prokofiev, Dmitriy Kabalevsky, Dmitriy Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturyan and Rodion Schedrin were given here.
Year 2007 witnessed the revival of the Mikhaylovsky Theater. The General Director of the theater Vladimir Kekhman initiated and sponsored the repair works in the building. Under Vladimir Kekhman a constellation of famous artists appeared in the theater. In 2010 he was awarded the national Celebrity Prize for the revival of the theater.
Bolshoy Hall of St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic named after Shostakovich was designed by architect Peasant Jacquou in 1834-1839. Because of its excellent acoustics the hall soon became the center of musical life in St. Petersburg. Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss all appeared on its stage.
In the 20th century both Dmitriy Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev collaborated with the Philharmonic Orchestra. One could have regularly listened to Mstislav Rostropovich and Svyatoslav Rikhter, performing under the baton of the conductor Evgeniy Mravinsky. He was succeeded by Yuriy Temirkanov in 1988, who is one of the world’s most distinguished conductors today.
Academic Capella became famous as a center of performance of the best works of Russian and Western European composers written for the choir. The present building of the Academic Capella was constructed in 1887-1889 by Leontiy Benois in Neoclassical style for the Emperor Court Choir Capella. Organ, choir and solo concerts of sacred and classical music attract more and more admirers in St. Petersburg.
Oktyabrskiy Bolshoy Concert Hall is a multi-purpose hall for concerts, celebrations, big shows and ballets. The architects Alexander Zhuk, Vflentin Kamensky and Jean Verzhbitsky had this building constructed in 1967. The hall is equipped with modern light & acoustic facilities.
Bolshoy St. Petersburg State Circus is one of the leading spectacular circuses of the country. Circus performances were a success in St. Petersburg even in the 18th century. They took place at the squares during the public merry-making and at the riding schools. The opening of the Circus on Fontanka, the first Russian building of stone designed by architect Vasiliy Kenel and specified for the circus, took place in December, 1877.