If you have a free weekend in such culturally rich city as Saint-Petersburg, you should definitely visit one of the numerous theatres situated in the city. Ballet, opera and drama theaters offer a wide choice of classical and contemporary plays and performances which are certainly worth seeing.
Teatralnaya Square, 1
Dekabristov St., 34
Pisareva St., 20
One of the most famous theatres in Russia, the legendary Mariinsky theatre consists of three stages where performances are given fast and furious. You are free to choose between piano concertos of Mozart performed in the concert hall, Giselle on the historic stage and Rigoletto on the new one. If you decide on opera, be sure that the performance will be given in the original and followed by Russian subtitles (sometimes English as well). Do not hesitate to buy the ticket because they usually get sold like hot cakes. If you happen to be in Saint-Petersburg in the late spring or summer, keep in mind the annual Stars of White Nights festival at the Mariinsky arranged from May till the end of July. The festival provides the perfect opportunity to see performances of the ballet companies from all over the world as well as to listen to the foreign orchestras and attend the premieres of operas and ballets staged at the Mariinsky.
Iskusstv Square, 1
This is another theatre located in the heart of the city where you will surely get a moving experience. The theatre offers ballet and opera performances and constantly expands the list of productions. At Mikhailovsky you can find classical ballets such as Swan Lake and La Sylphide side by side with contemporary masterpieces of the Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato who used to work as the ballet artistic managing director for several years at the theater. The theatre also serves as a stage for one-of-a-kind international ballet project named Kings of the Dance which unites five outstanding male ballet dancers of different origin and ballet background who perform together and individually bringing their best to the audience. Such unique performance takes place only once a year so you will be very lucky if you get a chance to see it!
Rubinshteina St., 18
The renowned Maly Drama Theatre is another must-visit for you. The theatre is quite modest in size though it has two stages but in order to see one of the plays you certainly need to take care of tickets in advance. The Maly Drama Theatre is also known as the Theatre of Europe for this status was grated to the theatre by the General Assembly of the Union of European Theatres. This high honour can be easily explained by the prominent role of the theatre in developing theatrical art and the dynamic cooperation of the theatre with young European directors and actors. The list of productions at the theatre offers a diversity of plays including plays based on W. Shakespeare, F. Dostoevsky, A. Tchekov, H. Ibsen, H. Andersen an so on. But remember to pick among those plays which are followed by subtitles in English.
Ostrovsky Square, 6
Though the theatre itself is the oldest in Russia, the performances which are given there will surprise you with their modernity. There you won’t see the kind of Hamlet that you’re used to (sullen and melancholic) because the word which best describes Alexandrinsky theatre nowadays is experiment. If you are curious about contemporary plays and find experimental approach in art alluring you should definitely visit the Alexandrinsky. Moreover, Alexandrinsky theatre also serves as a stage for the Boris Eifman ballet company when they perform in Saint-Petersburg. The Eifman company is constantly on a tour performing all over the world but they never forget to put Saint-Petersburg on their touring list. If you can, seize this wonderful opportunity to see a piece by the renowned choreographer whose ballets are always a combination of a fascinating choreographic language and the choreographer’s contemplation over eternal issues.
Fontanka Embankment, 65
Last but not the least on our list of the theatres is another dramatic theatre which is a genuine legend of the city. Just like The Maly Drama Theatre, the company of Bolshoi Dramatic Theatre includes brilliant actors who are famous in Russia for their longstanding distinguished performances. The theatre preserves the traditions introduced by the extraordinary theatre director G. Tovstonogov who contributed a lot to the creation and development of the theatre being particularly attentive to choosing actors to join the company. The list of productions of the theatre includes plays based on W. Shakespeare, F. Dostoyevsky, A. Ostrovsky as well as contemporary Russian, European and American writers. Do not hesitate, buy the ticket and see the play performed by one of the best companies in the city.
This list of theatres represents only several big theatres of Saint-Petersburg but you are free to explore the theatrical life of the city and visit other places. The key thing to remember is that true Saint-Petersburg experience won’t be complete without your exposure to the flourishing culture of this city!