Discover St Petersburg’s new 19 billion ruble theatre

Opera and theatre lovers throughout the world are rejoicing as the amazing 19 billion ruble Mariinsky II theatre (one of the most expensive cultural projects ever built) has finally opened its doors, after years of problems and delays with its financing and construction. Boasting a huge auditorium with a capacity of 2,000, the new theatre is leagues ahead of the older theatre which it supercedes.

Mariinsky theatre

The new Mariinsky was commissioned now almost 10 years ago, amidst claims that the current theatre was no longer fit for the purposes of the troupe as they achieved worldwide fame. Originally designed by French architect Dominique Perrault, his design was quickly dropped after being dubbed “the golden potato” by the local community, due to its gaudy, shapeless form. The project was then taken over by Canadian firm Diamond and Schmidtt who have seen it through to completion, however there is still widespread disappointment with the final appearance of the building.

Inside, however, initial impressions of the acoustics have been extremely positive and the new stage with its vast array of technical capabilities is already drawing in a number of world exclusives and new performances.

The theatre officially opened on the 2nd May 2013 with a huge production featuring such stars of opera and theatre as Placido Domingo, Rene Pape and Anna Netrebko. The show was met with tremendous critical acclaim and was rounded of with a warm chorus of “Happy Birthday” for the now 60 year old artistic director of the Mariinsky, Valery Gergiev.

If you are visiting St Petersburg in the future and have a love for the theatre, you can do a lot worse than getting along to the Mariinsky II to see some classic shows such as Faust, The Sleeping Beauty and A Midsummer Night’s Dream amongst many others.

Kristi Rorison is Director of Outgoing Business at IntoRussia.

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