See the best ballet and theatre at St Petersburg's iconic Mariinsky Theatre
Lose yourself in an evening of soaring arias, rousing choruses, gravity-defying leaps and passionate pas de deux in the heart of old Saint Petersburg. A national treasure for over two centuries, the Mariinsky Theatre is the birthplace of many of the world's best-loved operas and ballets. That same tradition is kept alive today with thrilling productions of old favourites and exciting new additions to the repertoire. Browse Ticketbis for upcoming Mariinsky Theatre tickets and savour a cultural experience like no other.
Origins of the Mariinsky Theatre
The Mariinsky Theatre opened its doors in 1860 as a home for the Imperial opera and ballet companies, which were founded by Catherine the Great some eighty years before. Designed by Albert Cavos (who also worked on the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow), it was then the largest performance space of its kind. Over the next 60 years, many of the greatest works of the Russian classical repertoire debuted in its glittering auditorium. Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Borodin's Prince Igor, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Snow Maiden and The Golden Cockerel, Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades – these pieces would all become favourites with opera houses around the world. During the Soviet era, the Mariinsky changed its name to the Kirov Theatre but the stream of masterpieces continued unabated, with composers like Sergei Prokofiev stepping up to pen crowd-pleasing new pieces. In 1988, the Mariinsky theatre scaled new heights with the appointment of Valery Gergiev as general director. This award-winning conductor brought even greater polish to the theatre's musicianship, while also overseeing the construction of a second auditorium and the creation of the theatre's own record label.
Beautiful ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre
For ballet lovers in particular, the Mariinsky is steeped in historical importance. In the 1890s the theatre's ballet director Marius Petipa collaborated with the composer Tchaikovsky on three pieces that would redefine the genre with their swooning lyricism – The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Petipa's successor Michel Fokine would be just as influential, helping to bring twentieth century classics like Stravinsky's The Firebird to the stage. During the 1940s and '50s, premieres of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet and Khachaturian's Spartacus proved that the company was as vital as ever. The Mariinsky Ballet has also been a crucible for performing talent. From the serenely graceful Anna Pavlova and the groundbreakingly original Vaslav Nijinsky to world-famous stars such as Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, some of the greatest names in ballet have danced their way across this hallowed stage.