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The Best Russian Opera & Ballet Theatres
April 3, 2006 14:36

Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

Mariinsky Theatre, dearly referred to as Mariinka, got its name after the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna and has always been the grandest and the most Western (synonymous to artistically advanced in this case) theatre of Russia. In Soviet times (from 1934 to 1992)it was known as Leningrad State Kirov Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

The splendid 'Sleeping Beauty' and original cyberpunk ballets by William Forsythe are the major ballet blockbusters here. The new 'Nutcracker' staged by Mikhail Shemyakin also enjoys popularity. Anyway, whatever you chance to watch here, will most probably be enjoyable.


Alexandrinsky Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

The legendary Alexandrinsky Theatre, one of the most famous theatres in Russia, was founded by order of Empress Elizabeth on August 30, 1756. The date now marks the birthday of Russian professional theatre.

Along with drama spectacle you can see here ballet productions with the stars of Russian choreography. Alexandrinsky Theatre is known as 'the theatre of masters' and its actors rank among the best ones in St.-Petersburg.

Bolshoi Theatre (Moscow)

Bolshoi (Big)Theatre is the major national theatre of Russia, the bearer of Russian musical traditions and an important centre of world music culture. The theatre interprets the classical heritage in the light of spiritual needs of the renovating Russian society and promotes the development of musical theatre of Russia.

Along with 'museum' spectacles dating back to the after-war period, the theatre happens to treat its audience to most unexpected performances here, from exquisite chamber programmes in Beethoven Hall to leased import productions and its own creations. As for the soloists, it's really worth hunting after first-night casts - the Bolshoi now has taken opening purse for the international level singers.


Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre - Mikhailovsky Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

Wonderfully fitted into the architectural ensemble of Mikhailovskaya Square the building of the theatre became the third Emperor's stage and the second large musical stage in St.-Petersburg.

First-class artistry of the theatre has won worldwide recognition. This stage provided a fertile soil for the growth and formation of many singers now performing on the leading stages of the world (such as Karpov, Tregubovich, Mironova, and others). On the repertoire are world famous 'Traviata' and 'Rigoletto' by Verdi, 'Queen of Spades' and 'Eugene Onegin' by Tchaikovsky, 'Barber of Seville' by Rossini, and others.

Moskva Chamber Ballet (Moscow)

The Russian chamber ballet 'Moskva' has come out on stage comparatively not long ago, in 1991.

Esteemers of classics can come here to see Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Nutcracker and other well-known ballets loved by many. The Dance of the Little Swans, Waltz of Flowers from Nutcracker and Grand Pa from Don Quixote - all that will be present, as well as familiar music, beautiful ballet tutus, indispensable fouettes and young choir girls. The Moskva Theatre honours tradition of the Russian ballet and aspires for reviving and keeping alive the best that has been in it for several centuries. However the pride of the Moskva chamber theatre is its Contemporary Dance Group, which fills the bill and deserves close attention of music theatre lovers.

Kremlin Ballet (Moscow)

Kremlin Ballet Theatre was founded by well-known choreographer, People's Artist of Russia Andrei Petrov in 1990. The name of the theatre speaks for itself. The theatre is located on the territory of Moscow Kremlin, in the building of the State Kremlin Palace. The artistic credo of the theatre is artistic development of ballet traditions.

The repertoire of the Kremlin ballet includes both spectacle staged by outstanding ballet masters of the past, such as M. Petipa, A. Gorsky, L. Ivanov, and innovative ballets by renowned modern choreographers: Y. Grigorovitch, V. Vasiliev, A. Petrov.

Hermitage Theatre (St.-Petersburg)

The Hermitage Theatre takes one of the five buildings of the splendid architectural ensemble of the Hermitage. It was built in 1783-1787 by prominent architect Giacomo Quarenghi designed specially for the personal theatre of Catherine the Great. The building is one of the finest paragons of the Russian classicism of the 1780s. As for the Hermitage Theatre itself it is one of the best chamber theatres of the world. Nowadays it gives ballet performances featuring such ballet stars as Yulia Makhalina, F. Ruzimatov, as well as chamber music concerts and opera nights.

Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet

The names of the oldest Russian ballet school are known all over the world: Mikhail Fokin, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina, Vatslav Nizhinsky, etc.

The Academy was founded in 1738 as a ballet school. Centuries later, in 1957 the school (then Leningrad Choreography School) was named after the prominent ballerina and splendid teacher Agrippina Vaganova to get the status of Academy only in the early 1990s.

On stage of the Academy you will see ballets Nutcracker, Silvia, concert programmes and many other delightful performances.

Igor Moiseyev Folk Ensemble

Igor Moiseyev, the creator of Russian State Ensemble of Folk Dance is one of the most famous ballet masters on the planet. The ensemble has no rivals in terms of blending folk traditions with the achievements of classical ballet. The audiences of all the continents can't but adore Moiseyev's Ballet charging with miraculous joy of dance.

The repertoire highlights an enormous variety of folk dances of almost all nations of the world (from Russian to Chinese and Irish) and ballets, such as Polovetsian Dances, The Night on the Bald Mountain and The Spartakus.

Aida Chernova and Sergei Starukhin Theatre

The theatre stands out with its auctorial spectacles that merge together ballet, pantomime and acting technique. Interpreting the masterpieces of music art, the authors create plastique ballets, in which the body sings and the soul dances. Topping the bill is the plastique ballet set to Alfred Shnitke's Music 'Man and Woman, or Concert for Alt with Orchestra'.

Saratov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Saratov)

Saratov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the oldest ballets in Russia. Its traditions date back to the early 19th century (2003 saw the 200th anniversary of the theatre in Saratov) and in the early 20th century it already became the music centre of Volga Region.

Today Saratov Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre is rightfully the preserver and follower of the world music traditions. It has always been remarkable for its rich classical and original repertoire, with Khovanshchina by M. Musorgsky, Tangeizer by Wagner, Wilhelm Tell by Rossini, lady McBeth of Mzensk District by Shostakovitch, Story of the Real Man by Prokofiev, Rigoletto by Verdi, and so on.

The names of the theatre's soloists are known in Russia and beyond it.

Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre (Perm)

The Perm Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of Russia's most distinguished art companies. The Theatre was founded in 1870. Since then, it has produced a number of works with an emphasis on the operas and ballets of P.I. Tchaikovsky who was born near Perm. Perm was also the home of Sergei Diaghilev, the world-famous impresario and the genius of "Ballets Russes".

The theatre is a basis for hosting regular Diaghilev international festivals for music arts.

Traditionally, Perm is the center for holding an Open Russian Ballet competition Arabesque supervised by Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova.

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