Ballet and Opera ‑ two of the finest and most enduring contributions of Europe to the world of classical music and dance. And if you wish to enjoy the art forms at their classical best, then there is no other place to visit than Russia. Well, even if you are not a ballet and opera enthusiast, if you are ever in Russia, do find the time to enjoy it in some of the best theaters of the world, if not for the joy of watching these exquisite art forms, at least for absorbing that wonderful atmosphere where you are temporarily transported to the elegance of the past.
Here, let’s take a trip to the ballet and opera theaters of Russia, enjoy their beauty, study their history and most of all, breath in the aura of timeless grace and unsurpassed beauty that permeates the very atmosphere.
The Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater
Bolshoi in Russian means great, large or grand. And indeed, the Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater is the grand old lady of this traditional art. The Bolshoi is considered to be one of the most renowned historic theaters of Russia. The theater was designed by the famous architect Joseph Bove and conducts performances of ballet and opera.
The main building of the Bolshoi Theater is a landmark of Moscow. The theater is so much a part of Russian cultural growth that the façade of the main building is pictured in the Russian 100 ruble note. Originally constructed in 1825, the Bolshoi Theater has seen many renovations and changes during the course of its lifetime with the latest massive renovation which began in 2005 and extended for a period of 6 years. When the theater was finally opened in 2011, the original acoustics and the imperial quality of the décor had been restored.
The Bolshoi Theater is a repertory theater and has been the venue of some of the greatest ballet and opera performances in the world. It has been the hallowed site of many historic premiers which has changed the very phase of the world of ballet and opera.
The Mariinsky Theater
Well, from the Bolshoi to the Mariinsky, is to leap from arguably the best to the finest. Another renowned Russian ballet and opera company, that is the Mariinsky Theater. The Mariinsky has been named after Maria, the Russian empress and the wife of Alexander II. Located in St. Petersburg, this spectacular arena for ballet is one of the most imposing landmarks of the area.
The Mariinsky Theater was the creation of the renowned architect Albert Cavos and was inaugurated in 1859. The growth of Russian ballet and opera is invariably linked with the history of the Marrinsky. It has hosted some of the best performers in this genre and has been witness to some of its greatest achievements. With 1,625 seats, it is definitely bigger than the Bolshoi.
Magnificent halls, luxurious seats, exceptional acoustics, excellent atmosphere, affordable prices ‑ all the basic necessities that would make a ballet performance a most cherished memory to be had at the Mariinsky.
Mikhailovsky (Mussorgsky) Opera and Ballet Theater
The Mussorgsky Theater has been named after the famous Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. It is the second largest stage for musical performances in Russia. The Mussorgsky follows the same classical repertoire as the Mariinsky. The theater was initially opened in 1918. The opulent exteriors and the elegant interiors is the trade mark of this theater. The Mussorgsky has been credited with the revival of some of the forgotten compositions of classical opera and ballet.
The Mussorgsky has another advantage to its credit – it’s less expensive and less crowded than the other major opera houses. So getting a seat here does not pose much of a problem.
In 2007 it was renamed to the Mikhailovsky Theater but everyone still knows it as The Mussorgsky Theater.
Classical ballet and opera at its best is to be enjoyed in the famous theaters of Russia. It would be an unforgettable experience even for those who are not familiar with the nuances of this great art form.