Mikhailovskiy Theater on Art Square in Saint Petersburg Russia

The Mikhailovsky Theater is younger than its competitors Mariinskiy and Alexandrinskiy, but its history is connected with the names of many famous stage masters. The world renowed stars like Fyodor Shalyapin and Johann Strauss, Matilda Kshesinska and Jacques Offenbach performed here.

The architecture of the Mikhailovsky theater building is modest and laconic, but its interior is not inferior in beauty and pomp to many famous theaters in the world. Its interiors are striking in their beauty and luxury.

As in the Mariinsky Theater, opera and ballet performances take place here. The Mariinsky troupe and space are much larger, however, theaters compete not with the size of the team and rehearsal spaces, but with the attractiveness of their repertoire and the variety of artists performing.

Currently, the Mikhailovsky Theater is an undoubted competitor to both the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky. In addition, the location of the Mikhailovsky Theater is much more convenient than the Mariinsky – it is located at the Arts Square, next to the Russian Museum, surrounded by the main sights of St. Petersburg and not far from the Nevsky Prospect and Gostiny Dvor metro stations.

You can explore the luxurious interiors of the Mikhailovsky Theater by purchasing a ticket for an opera, ballet performance or a concert. In addition, you can visit the auditorium, and even the stage and backstage during the special tour.

History of Mikhailovsky Theater

Mikhailovskaya Square (now Art Square) has been chosen as the construction site of the theater building which was designed by the famous architect Karl Rossi. The facade of the Mikhailovsky Theater, also built by Rossi, is made in full accordance with the look of the Mikhailovsky Palace located on the Arts Square.

An architect and connoisseur of art Alexander Bryullov (elder brother of the famous painter Karl Bryullov) performed the development of the theater building, The architect skillfully incorporated a new building into the surrounding area.

On November 8, 1833, the theater, named after Prince Michael, the youngest son of Paul I, was opened.

For several decades, Mikhailovsky had no troupe of his own. Actors of the Mariinsky Theater and the Alexandrinsky Theater performed on its stage, but most of the actors were German and French.

At these performances, the entire Petersburg society was gathered and it is no coincidence that it was Mikhailovsky who made the most noticeable Europeanizing influence not only on Petersburg but also on Moscow theatrical school.

The building was reconstructed under the guidance of architect Albert Kavos in 1859. An additional tier was built on, and the hall was decorated with picturesque furnishings, rich stucco molding, and caryatids over the front stage.

After the revolution, the artists from France and Germany were forced to leave Russia. At this time, Mikhailovsky Theater formed its own troupe, and soon was renamed to the State Academic Theater of Comic Opera.

In Soviet times, the Mikhailovsky Theater collaborates with Soviet composers and conductors, and for the first time in the world, Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace was staged here. In 1989, the theater was named after Modest Mussorgsky.

The Mikhailovsky Theater is considered the most secular musical theater in Russia. In 2001 it received its historical name – Mikhailovsky. Now the repertoire consists of classical opera and ballet perfromances. Today it is a unique theatrical platform, where centuries-old classical traditions and the most modern theatrical trends perfectly coexist.


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