Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital.
Book your opéra, ballet and concert tickets in Saint-Ptersburg for the 2018 season!
Book your opera and ballet tickets for Saint-Petersburg in advance!
A little history
Saint-Petersburg was founded in 1703 when the first stone of the Peter and Paul Fortress was laid. In 1706, the tsar Peter the Great decided to make Saint-Petersburg his capital.
In 1712, the senate, the embassies and the Court were moved to Saint-Petersburg. The noble families were forced to move from Moscow. Peter the Great summoned many European architects to make the city shine.
Empress Catherine II developed Saint-Petersburg a lot: she built various palaces, 25 academies and the first girls' public school, the Smolny Institute.
In 1738, the first Russian ballet school was founded and the Mariinsky theatre opened its doors in 1783. The intellectuals and writers such as Alexander Pushkin gathered in Saint-Petersburg.
After 1917's revolution, there are only two thirds of the city's population left. The city is renamed Leningrad in 1924. The cultural city centre is abandoned and the new centre is moved to the southern part of the city around Moscow Square.
During WWII, Leningrad is besieged by the Germans between 1941 and 1944. During these years, starvation and bombings cause massive casualties: 1.2 million civilians died during this period.
After the war, the town is rebuilt. It symbolised Soviet resistance, but a power struggle with Moscow created tensions.
Leningrad was renamed Saint-Petersburg in 1991.
For the 300th birthday of the city in 2003, the city gained back international attention. The old buildings are restored. Some restoration works are still going on nowadays to bring back the city's old glory.
What to do in Saint-Petersburg?
Saint-Petersburg has a lot to offer! The city has numerous museums, including the great Hermitage Museum. The six buildings house various art collections, including a painting collection which equals the Louvre's!
Majestic, Saint-Petersburg has long straight boulevards, palaces, parks… You should visit the Peter and Paul Fortress which includes several buildings, such as the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
The Church of the Saviour on Blood, finished in 1903, is a must-see. It pays tribute to the emperor Alexander II who was assassinated in an attack. The building houses over 7500m² of mosaics… it's beautiful!
Walk on the Palace Square which offers a grandiose overview of the city! The Winter Palace and Alexander's Column will both charm you!
Saint-Petersburg, a melodious city!
Built in 1860 to replace the old Circus Theatre, the Mariinsky Theatre quickly became renowned internationally. The old track and seat rows were used in the building of the Mariinsky Theatre, giving it an unconventional U shape.
The theatre is huge compared to other European theatres and this transformed the space usage for choreographies.
It is at the Mariinsky Theatre that many great Russian operas premiered: Tchaikovsky's, Mussorgsky's, Borodin's, … But the theatre is very famous for its ballet troupe!
The Russian Ballet was invented at the Mariinsky. It is characterised by its "spectacular" aspect and its long running time often exceeding two hours. The Mariinsky Theatre is true reference for dance performances.
After the Russian revolution of 1917, the Mariinsky theatre lost some of its glory. It is renamed State Theatre of Opera and Ballet in 1920, then Kirov Theatre in 1934. Despite its highly renowned ballet school, the students prefer to go to the Bolshoi or European venues. Under the communist regime, the Mariinsky remained in the shadow of its competitor, the Bolshoi.
The Mariinsky Theatre has regained some prestige since Valery Gergiev became its artistic director. Ambitious renovation works started then.
The Mariinsky Concert Hall opened its doors in 2007. The concert hall is located where the costume and decors workshops were. While keeping its historical façade, the concert hall features both history and modernity in its architecture.
In addition to Russian orchestras, various other orchestras including the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra have performed in the Mariinsky Concert Hall. Let's not forget the famous artists and conductors such as Anna Netrebko, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Thomas Hampson or Waltraud Meier!
What would Saint-Petersburg be without its White Nights Festival? It has become a tradition since 1993. The festival starts in late May and usually ends by mid-July. The performances take place at the Mariinsky Theatre, but also at the Mariinsky Concert Hall. The festival attracts many renowned artists such as Anna Netrebko, Plácido Domingo, Yuri Temirkanov, and many more!
Saint-Petersburg is a magnificent historical and musical city! This gem awaits you. Do not hesitate: book your opera tickets for Saint-Petersburg's venues! Or would you rather enjoy a ballet evening at the Mariinsky Theatre?