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Mariinsky (Kirov) opera and ballet theatre
The opera and ballet companies are famous the world over. The repertoire includes such classics as Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and "Swan Lake" and works by Mozart, Verdi and Rossini. Other popular productions are Massenet's ballet "Manon" and the operas "Don Juan" by Mozart, "War and Peace" by Prokofiev and Wagner's "Das Rheingold". The latest productions are Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" (with scenery by Mikhail Shemyakin), Puccini's "La Boheme" and Verdi's "Macbeth".
history of the Mariinsky theatre started in 1783 when the Bolshoi
(Stone) Theatre was open in Petersburg, where dramatic opera
and ballet performances were staged. Now there is the Saint-Petersburg
By the declare of Ekaterina II the Bolshoi (Stone) theatre was
built on the site of that building, surpassed the great European
theatres by its brilliance and luxury. In 1849 in the building,
constructed on the project of the architect Alberto Kavos, opposite
the Bolshoy theatre, the circus was opened by a horse festive
performance. It was designed so that it could be used as a theatrical
In the night on 26 January 1859 the circus burnt. On its site
by the project of the same architect a new theatre was built,
designed for music and drama performances. It was called the
Mariinsky theatre in honour of the Emperor Alexander's II wife
Maria Alexandrovna. Here came Russian opera and then ballet
troupes of the Bolshoi Theatre. The theatre was opened on 2
October 1860 by Michail Glinka's opera "Life for Tsar".
Blue and gold colour is the symbol of the Mariinsky theatre.
Five-circled hall of the theatre stayed almost unchanged after
the rebuilding by Alberto Kavos in 1859. The hall is defined
by emphasized festivity; it was designed as a hall of the leading
theatre of Russian Empire.
In 1935-1992 it had the name of C.M.Kirov. The World premieres
of many masterpieces of Russian opera classics were staged there.
Including Glinka's "Life for Tsar", "Ruslan and
Ludmila", Musorgskiy's "Khovanshina" and "Boris
Godunov", Borodin's "Prince Igor", Rimsky-Korsako's
"Tale about Invisible Kitezh City and maiden Fevronia",
P.I.Chaikovsky's "Queen of Spades".
original national vocal school was formed in the Mariinsky theatre.
The fortunes of many world opera art stars. Great Fjodor Shaljapin,
Ivan Ershov, Nikolai Figner, Leonid Sobinov, Felija Litvin,
later- Nikolay Peskovsky, Sophia Preobrazhenskaya, Mark Reyzen,
Georgyi Nelepp sang on the stage. The Mariinsky theatre has
always had piety to classic traditions. Beside that there were
performances in XX century, that became epoch-making, turning
point for the development of new aesthetics for opera theatre.
Alexander Benua, Konstantin Korovin, Alexander Golovin and Valentin
Serov opened here the new possibilities of theatrical drawing
to the world. Here Vsevolod Meyerhold staged his genius performances,
each of which became an interesting for the world art event.
The theatre repertoire includes the "golden fund"
works of opera classics. For the last years the theatre staged
performances jointly with the greatest world opera stages: Covent
Garden, Opera de Bastil, La Scala, La Fenice, Tel-Aviv Opera
and San-Francisco Opera.