Spotlight on St. Petersburg Theaters: Mariinsky II Theater
Katya Boyarskaya is a long-time MIR tour manager, guide, and now director of MIR’s affiliate St. Petersburg, Russia office. She was born in St. Petersburg into a theatrical family, graduating as a drama theater critic and historian from the College of Theatrical Arts. In this series on St. Petersburg’s theaters, Katya shares insider tips on one of her city’s famous theaters.
I recently visited the Mariinsky II Theater for the first time. It’s huge! Shaped like a horseshoe, this theater’s auditorium is among the largest in the world. Acoustics are awesome – considered among the world’s finest for a theater. But the lighting is a bit strange: To me they look like those rows of lights inside an airplane, so passengers can find their way in the aisle.
Backstage and behind the scenes, there’s room to spread out. The Mariinksy II has space for 1,000 staffers, and enough room to rehearse on five productions at once. Have you ever seen those cramped orchestra pits? The Mariinsky II’s can hold up to 120 musicians. There’s also high-tech state-of-the art equipment that can handle the most complex stagings and sets.
I recently saw a new, contemporary production of the Rimsky-Korsakov opera, Snow Maiden, conducted by Valery Gergiev. It was absolutely fantastic! Four hours flew by like four minutes. Recent productions and concerts have included Anna Karenina, Il Trovatore, Rachmaninoff, and of course Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
I do think that newer versions and more modern interpretations of opera and ballet are best suited to the Mariinsky II stage and venue. And maybe that’s the division: leave classic art to the classic theaters, and modern productions of classical operas and ballets to the modern ones, like Mariinsky II.
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Visit a world-renowned theater in Moscow or St. Petersburg with MIR:
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Top Photo: A packed house at the new Mariinsky II Photo Credit: Katya Boyarskaya
PUBLISHED: April 25, 2016