World-known Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet and Opera theatre is one of top 6 ballet and opera companies in the world. It is a "must see" in St. Petersburg.
The theatre has been the home of Russian ballet and opera since the 1860s and has become a mecca for both Russian and international artists.
The theatre was reconstructed by A. Kavos, and in 1860 was opened as the Mariinsky Theatre. It was named after the wife of the reigning Tsar Alexander II, Marina. Throughout the years, the theatre has held several names. In 1919, it was renamed the Kirov Theatre. In 1992 the name changed officially once again, back to the original name of Mariinsky Theatre.
It has splendid and elegant auditorium is richly decorated and in fact is one of the most beautiful in the world. Through its history, the stage of this theatre has seen such famous ballet-masters and ballet dancers as A. Pavlova, M. Petipa, G.Ulanova, M.Baryshnicov, A.Nyriev. Peter Tchaikovsky's world ballet and opera masterpieces like "Swan Lake", "Nutcracker", "Eugene Onegin" and others was premierred at this stage. It was the main ballet and opera stage of the Russian Empire, located in it's magnificient Imperial capital - St. Petersburg. The performances here are of worldclass quality.
The Mariinsky Theatre represents a unique cultural force on the world stage among performing arts organizations. Its touring schedule and residencies abroad total more than 200 performances each year and span the globe, from North America, to Europe, Asia and beyond. The Mariinsky‘s artistic impact and its ambassadorial role on behalf of Russian culture have been recognized by governments and international organizations alike.
The Mariinsky Theatre was established in 1783 following a decree by Empress Catherine the Great to stage the first Russian comic operas and the best works of foreign composers. The current theatre building on Theatre Square was opened in 1860. The theatre‘s magnificent decor of dazzling white sculptures, lustrous gilt chandeliers and light blue upholstery created the perfect atmosphere in which to herald in St. Petersburg‘s golden period of operatic history.
In 1862, Giuseppe Verdi‘s La Forza del Destino premiered on the Mariinsky stage and opened the door for the premieres of Russian masterpieces such as Boris Godunov (1874), Prince Igor (1890), and The Queen of Spades (1890). The Mariinsky Theatre, under the baton of Eduard Napravnik, quickly took its place among the world‘s leading opera houses. The theater‘s ballet company under the director of Marius Petipa was equally distinguished, premiering Peter Tchaikovsky‘s Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty and influencing the development of classical dance for generations to come.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, legendary artists such as Fyodor Chaliapin, Anna Pavlova and Vladislav Nijinsky graced the Mariinsky‘s stage. Under Soviet rule, the Mariinsky Theatre was renamed the Kirov Theatre, a change which did not alter the high quality of its artistic productions or affect the supreme talents of the dancers, musicians and singers performing on its stage.
In 1988, Valery Gergiev was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Kirov Opera. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the theatre reverted to its pre-Revolutionary name, and in 1996, Gergiev was named Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre. Under his leadership the Kirov Opera, Ballet and Orchestra have continued to garner worldwide praise.